2020 Idiot of the Year: Deeper into the abyss with Dwayne Haskins, Lou Holtz, and Trevor Bauer

2020 Idiot of the Year: Deeper into the abyss with Dwayne Haskins, Lou Holtz, and Trevor Bauer

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UPDATE: We have compiled all 50 items into one handy list, for your reading convenience. It is available here.

Welcome to Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE YEAR awards! Our expert team has worked tirelessly to bring you this annual list of the sports and sports-adjacent figures who most intensely made us wish we had been shaken as infants.

Within these rankings you will find all manner of dunces, dumbfucks, douchebags, and doofs. Each of these archetypes exist under the tentpole of idiocy, but they are not quite the same thing. So, before we begin our show, let’s explore the phenomenon a bit.

What is an idiot? Is there any point to nailing down an objective definition, or can one only know it when they see it, like pornography? Can it be achieved in one grand flourish, or is it the sum of a lifelong commitment? It depends on whom you ask, but as far as we’re concerned, all paths are viable. Consider the conceptual origins of idiocy: The word entered English in reference to a loner, an amateur, or, more abstractly, a person somehow separate from civilization. In this sense, the idiot is perhaps best defined by an inability, or unwillingness, to work in service of a better society. Or they’re stupid. Or both.

The pesky thing about words is that they’ll always mean something ever-so-slightly different to everyone. So, to further explain our methodology — a term we’re using very loosely — here’s a broad idea of the qualities we looked for when coming up with our IDIOT OF THE YEAR picks.

  • Ignorance
  • Excitability
  • Arrogance
  • Malice
  • Incompetence

That’s just to name a few. The idiocy can certainly be pandemic-related — and much of it is — but it’s not limited to that. We tried our best to keep things scientific, but when the thing is called IDIOT OF THE YEAR, subjectivity tends to creep in. In any case, we proudly present this project to you, exalted reader, as a well-earned distraction from life. Look upon our works, ye mighty, and despair.

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30. Mike Gundy

30. Mike Gundy

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He’s a man! He’s… 53 now! Which means he’s somehow been at Oklahoma State for almost a decade and a half since “I’m a man! I’m 40!” Go back and watch that old rant, by the way, because you can see the seeds sown of a guy who became a T-shirt wearing fan of the far-right One America News Network. Gundy said that it was just a t-shirt, although he’d previously praised the network as “refreshing.” Gundy’s embrace of OANN did not sit well with his Black players, including star running back Chuba Hubbard, and Gundy had to apologize… then apologize again… then eventually take a million-dollar pay cut, to once again have a three-loss season and lose a sixth straight Bedlam game to Oklahoma, the Cowboys’ 14th in their last 16 meetings with the Sooners.

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29. Lou Holtz

29. Lou Holtz

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Lou Holtz literally compared the return of college football to the storming of Normandy. Holtz found a way to trivialize the lives of both servicemen and American civilians trying to survive a deadly disease. What makes it even crazier is that Holtz is a part of the demographic most likely to be greatly impacted by COVID-19, and guess what happened a few months after his comments? Yeap, you guessed it, Holtz got COVID. And then he got a fucking Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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28. Sam Coonrod

28. Sam Coonrod

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Coonrod was tapped as the early favorite in the field of idiots, and him not even being in the top 25 is a sign of how idiotic this year was, becuase Coonrod is the idiot who said that “I’m a Christian, so I just believe that I can’t kneel before anything besides God,” to explain why he wouldn’t take a knee, not for the National Anthem, which, whatever, that’s anyone’s personal choice, but for a pre-anthem moment of unity, the entire point of which was to… show unity… by all taking a knee. Instead, Coonrod bashed Black Lives Matter and asked that he get “respect.” Answer: no.

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27. John Jenkins

27. John Jenkins

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Illustration: AP

Notre Dame’s president wrote a stupid New York Times op-ed back in May, headlined “We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk.” An August COVID outbreak quickly shed light on just how risky a proposition that was, but it didn’t seem to bother Jenkins much. Then he caught the virus. Then he expressed his “disappointment” in November that students would rush the field in South Bend following an Irish victory. Jenkins, apparently failing to realize that kids are dumb and do dumb things, easily could have prevented that crisis months in advance by shutting down school athletics, like sensible people had been shouting at him to do all along.

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26. The Ricketts

26. The Ricketts

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Picking any MLB owner over another one for this esteemed honor is truly sticking your hand in a pile of goo and trying to guess this chunk might be. But the Ricketts family has been particularly foul in every way, from incompetence to malice to their tightwad handling of the Cubs. They rolled out their new network along with societal pox Sinclair, and it had all the production value and creativity of a college station at 3am. They tried to claim that 70% of their revenue was lost thanks to having no fans. They’ve spent two years not adding to their contending team, and crying poor and threatening to strip it down because they can’t afford it, even though they laugh about their ballpark and neighborhood improvements running $500 million over budget. One of them was the fundraising chair for Donald Trump. They got landmark status for Wrigley which will get them tens of millions in tax breaks, and yet still held the city of Chicago up for a delay on a $250,000 payment on minor improvements on the property around Wrigley until 2024. They are the crystalized symbol of modern sports wealth—incompetence feeling entitled thanks to money they had nothing to do with earning and utterly shocked that the majority don’t see the world the way they do, and yet facing no consequences for any of it.

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25. Trevor Bauer

25. Trevor Bauer

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The National League Cy Young winner is a giant idiot who long ago became known for harassing a woman on Twitter, and still, even having said he’d learned his lesson, proved that he’s just a shitposter at heart who’s physically incapable of logging off. Then he decided to get into it with some yutz from a once-great website, and got himself plaudits from lickspittle bros nationwide for the effort. By the way, how did Bauer win the Cy Young in this shortened season, anyway? Surely not by any nefarious means, the likes of which he’d described in the past while accusing other entire organizations of malfeasance. Because if there’s one thing we know about Donald Trump’s acolytes, projection is just something that’s totally out of their wheelhouse, right?

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24. Herschel Walker

24. Herschel Walker

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Honestly, we don’t even need to write anything here. He does it to himself.

Oh, and his son’s an idiot, too.

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23. Robinson Cano

23. Robinson Cano

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Honestly, Robinson Cano, you’re the greatest. Because of your second PED suspension, getting yourself banned from the 2021 MLB season and robbing yourself of $24 million in the process, you made the New York Mets’ middle infield situation far less strenuous. Now, the Mets can play Jeff McNeil every day. If Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez stay, they could continue developing as well. It even opens the door for more free agents, who should come any day now, ideally, except that baseball’s offseason moves at the pace of a Bartolo Colon powerwalk. Cano’s stupidity opens the door to a Francisco Lindor trade, and so many other options, as his massive deal inches toward its merciful end. Robby’s contract still runs for $24 million annually in 2022 and 2023, but in a twisted way, his ban is the most extraordinary dumb luck Steve Cohen and the Mets could ask for.

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22. Dwayne Haskins

22. Dwayne Haskins

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Some idiots struggle to wear their masks. Other idiots, like Haskins — a last-minute IDIOT OF THE YEAR addition — don’t wear their masks at all… while going to a strip club… in a pandemic. Haskins was already reprimanded for violating COVID protocols once this season, and has also been benched for his performance. For a guy trying to prove that he’s a leader and capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL, endangering your team in the midst of a playoff push sure is a funny way to do it. Add to the situation that he’s currently the only healthy quarterback on the roster, and there are more layers to his idiocy than the stack of singles he was caught holding.

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21. Mike Clevinger

21. Mike Clevinger

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It’s hard to comprehend the balls, or lack thereof, to sit in a team meeting about how one of your teammates had endangered everyone by violating health protocols everyone had agreed to, all while remaining silent because you know you were also so desperate to go out to bars with your bro-tastic idiot teammate. But that’s what Mike Clevinger did, and his team was so pissed that they traded him to San Diego for his troubles. It was convenient for Cleveland, as they weren’t looking to have to pay him two years down the road anyway. And Clevinger wins, as he gets to call perhaps the country’s most bro-tastic idiotic city home now.



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