Sports Fans Love Assholes

C Breezy celebrating an NBA Championship

The NBA All-Star Weekend ended just this past Sunday, which despite a decreasingly interesting Slam Dunk Contest every year, always offers something to be discussed as the second half of the NBA season gets underway.  Perhaps the most interesting storyline occurred off the court, however, when Lil Wayne – in so many words – said that he had sex Miami Heat Forward Chris Bosh’s wife before the two became married.  Here’s a clip if anyone is interested.

So it got me thinking.  Chris Bosh is a really nice guy; he’s never been accused of rape (Kobe Bryant), never started a brawl with fans in the stands (Ron Artest), or brought guns to the team’s arena over a gambling dispute (Gilbert Arenas).  Yet, the man gets hated on for everything he does.  Just type his name into Google and you will see countless videos making fun of him for ‘being gay’ or ‘soft’.  Is he a little goofy?  Yes.  But why does he get all the hate?  Why did Lil Wayne say that about his wife when Chris Bosh did nothing to him?  He’s an 8 TIME NBA ALL-STAR, so it’s safe to say he’s pretty damn good.  The answer is because he ignores the negative energy and continues to be a positive player who doesn’t do stupid shit.  What I’m trying to say is…whether sports fan realize it or not, they like assholes.

I’m not trying to say that all sports fans like assholes.  My point is, players who are the source of a lot of controversy are interesting to follow and talk about.  Ray Lewis, who just won a Super Bowl, was accused of murdering someone, and people LOVE to make jokes about it on Twitter and social media.  Nothing is funny about that.  Now, it’s important to point out that there’s a time scale associated with sports fans’ view of professional athletes after a negative incident.  People hated Kobe when he was accused of rape back in the early 2000’s, same with Tiger Woods when his scandal broke out.  I fully understand that mistakes happen and that professional athletes are people just like you and me and should be forgiven, but I think that incidents like these almost make these athletes more interesting, or glorified, if you will.  Want proof?  Look at this commercial Nike made, using Tiger’s dead father’s fake voice discussing his scandal of cheating on his wife with a countless number of women.

To sum this all up and relate it to ethics, I believe that sports have evolved over time to have less expectations when it comes to ethics and acceptable behavior.  It’s now become funny when Ron Artest (now named Metta World Peace) intentionally elbows someone, as opposed to ignorant or childish – which is what it really is.  If you saw someone do that at your local YMCA during a pickup game, you’d most likely think they were being a complete asshole.  Professional athletes, on the other hand, are off the hook — and the ones that are nice and play by the rules are called ‘soft’!   All in all, I think it’s definitely possible for an athlete to play by the rules, stay out of trouble, and have success in his/her respective sport.  However, in this day and age, I believe it’s become increasingly hard to do so because sports fans just love controversy.  Look at Tim Tebow – dude hasn’t said anything bad about anyone EVER and people HATE him!!!  That’s all I have to say.  What do you guys think about this?


9 thoughts on “Sports Fans Love Assholes

  1. I definitely agree that people love assholes. However, I believe it is because they are entertaining. Once a pro athlete does something that is out of the ordinary, like blatantly elbowing some one in the face, and we are watching them on television or in the stadium, it is something that we don’t see a lot. So when we do see it, we remember it, talk about and hope something entertaining like that can happen again so we can keep talking about it. Now we hold the person in the pick up game to a different standard because we are not paying to see him play. Overall, I believe it is the the entertainment aspect that appeals to us the most.

  2. So who is being unethical here? The “asshole” athletes? The fans who love them? I think it’s a mix of both since the fans are encouraging this behavior by being entertained by it. How can society remedy the situation?

    • Good question. I think you’re right, that it’s a mix of both. It will be hard for society to remedy the situation because it’s such a trend for athletes to act strangely and disrespectfully, and for people to find it funny. The leagues give suspensions to these players but they’re for like 1 or 2 games, so it’s not like they’re sending a very strong message there. What if there were harsher penalties? That might change how society views it.

  3. Personally, I disagree that people (generally) love asshole athletes. Just look at David Beckham and Troy Palamalu and Pat Tillman. They are three of the most respected and loved athletes in the world. Pat Tillman left the NFL to fight for our country, and died doing so. Troy Palamalu– I have never seen him act poorly on or off the field…and who couldn’t love that hair?? And David Beckham is a full on ladies man…he has become one of the biggest sex symbols of our generation. I think that people love to HATE the “assholes” of the athletic world. I think that the perspective on this topic is also extremely different for women and men, so I can see where you are coming from.

    • I partly agree with you Kaitlyn – i think fans are entertained by the assholes because they love to see them fail, but truly revere the heroes of the sport. A few athletes that are heroes because of the honor they bring to the game are, other than who you mentioned, Jerry Rice, Brian Dawkins, or Chipper Jones.

  4. I think there is a total disparity between players who are “assholes” and players who are “bitches”. Keeping this in the realm of professional basketball, I love “assholes” but I hate “bitches”. Charles Oakley is an asshole. Kevin Garnett is a bitch. Kevin Garnett picks on the smallest guy on the court in a manner of feigned tough guy intensity. He, time and time again, crosses the line in terms of trash talk, be it making fun of Charlie Villanueva for looking like he has cancer (he has alopecia) or wishing Tim Duncan a, “Happy mothers day, mother-f*cker” every time they run down court (Tim Duncan, having lost his mother at the age of 14, has been a huge proponent for NBA Breast Cancer Awareness). I hear all the time about how Kevin Garnett is one of those players “you just love to have on your team”, but his shady antics are something I’d be embarrassed of if I were his teammate. Charles Oakley, on the other hand, was an incredibly mediocre ball player, but he had heart unlike anyone else on the court; heart to the point where he could be perceived to be an asshole. Oakley was one of those players who would body up the biggest guy on the floor, and never start a fight but always finish them. Both Oakley and Garnett play dirty, Oak being overtly aggressive and Garnett being a name-caller, but there’s something more respectable about the guy who will start throwing knuckles without hesitation (no matter what the size of the opponent) than the guy who will throw an elbow and run away. It’s a matter of being “blue collar” and gritty rather being dirty and annoying. I think “assholes” definitely have a place in the NBA. Michael Jordan punched a teammate in the face during practice because he was losing a shooting contest. Is that a childish act? Yes. Is it an act that offers the public a glimpse of just how intense the man is about his performance? Yes. In terms of Metta World Peace, I think it’s especially important to note that he has been diagnosed as bipolar by his psychiatrist. His career has been marred with the likes of the aforementioned Harden elbow, his admission to drinking Hennsey at half-time, and the infamous Malace At the Palace brawl, but he is still beloved by fans. “Why? He’s an asshole!” Yes, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and will put his body (and his chin) on the line for his teammates. There’s no intensity to Kevin Garnett’s style of play. Yes, his personality and ego are larger than life but his dirty tactics, which are intended to bring his opponents down rather than bring his teammates up, are extraordinarily difficult for a fan to empathize with. Oak, Peace, and Jordan all allow their intensity to be felt by the fan sitting at home. Yes they are childish at times, but their “asshole” style of play is incredibly endearing.

  5. Wow. Just wow re: Tiger. Putting my management professor on, I would say that Tiger as brand is an investment on Nike’s part and this ad was perhaps a way to try and rehabilitate or get value from a prior investment.

    And you are right that forgiveness and redemption are often powerful themes for Americans, especially among some Christians who love an avowed sinner more than a virtuous person.

    • I remember reading that Nike was basically the only sponsor to stick with Tiger after his incident. So you’re right about that. I just think it’s wrong for them to use that AND the passing of his father in the same commercial as a way to make money… Also, in regards to Tebow, you’re right in that he does talk a lot about his faith. I just think it’s strange how some people despise him for it…a lot of players give the “all glory goes to God”-type speech after a win and people don’t seem to mind that!


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