2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlock's stupid hat

2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlock's stupid hat

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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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20. Novak Djokovic

20. Novak Djokovic

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

Joker could make this list every year for his cult-brained thoughts on fitness and health, so imagine what it must take to put that so thoroughly in the background. In the absence of tennis, Djokovic hosted a fully-attended tournament that saw himself and other players test positive for COVID-19 directly after, which is an ace look after multiple photos emerged of him and other players hanging out at clubs and the beach and such together. And even that might not have been his cake-topper! In a US Open without Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, where Djokovic could have simply moonwalked to the title, he labeled a ball off a linesperson’s throat out of frustration and got himself defaulted out of the tournament. Perhaps the ball simply ignored his emotions? Cruel mistress.

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19. Tony DeAngelo

19. Tony DeAngelo

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

Being a racist pudwhack isn’t a rarity in the NHL, and it feels as though the league is actually fine with that. But DeAngelo takes it to a whole new level, showcasing the dangers of giving anyone with a 7th-grade education a public forum. DeAngelo’s Twitter feed is a cataclysm of MAGA chudhead ooze, from COVID-denying to election-rigging, which dovetails perfectly and disgustingly with his use-of-slurs past in the OHL. Perhaps the most satisfying moment of the NHL’s return was Sebastian Aho putting him on his ass as the Canes violently punted the Rangers out of the bubble.

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18. Aubrey Huff

18. Aubrey Huff

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

It’s been a week or so since Aubrey Huff trended on Twitter, which means right about now he’s itching to say something so monumentally racist, sexist, homophobic, and downright ignorant that even the cesspool that is social media in 2020 will take notice. This is no easy task, which is why Aubrey is forced to become increasingly -ist and combative about it with each passing day. Disagree with him? You’re probably a beta cuck! Oh, you’re a woman? Then you’re undoubtedly fat, ugly, and have no sexual market value (Aubrey’s sexual market value, he tells us, is very high!). It’s hard to choose just one of the things that have landed dear Aubrey here on this list, so consider this a body of work award for an aging white man who can no longer play baseball, has been shunned by his former team, and is increasingly terrified of irrelevance with each passing day. How is it that Barstool hasn’t snapped him up already?

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17. James Dolan

17. James Dolan

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

2020 may be the first year in recent memory where Dolan was not the worst thing to happen to New York. Still an idiot, though.

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16. Jason Whitlock and His Stupid Hat

16. Jason Whitlock and His Stupid Hat

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Jason Whitlock is the epitome of someone desperately grasping for relevance. Whitlock has always been a controversial media figure for years but in 2020 he became downright intolerable with some of his takes. He said LeBron James was a bigot, attacked ESPN’s Maria Taylor and Katie Nolan because they were just doing their jobs, and then unleashed on Black college football coaches. It’s crazy to think that someone can do everything they possibly can to tick people off and rarely becomes a footnote in his industry. But that’s been Whitlock’s career for years now and likely won’t change any time soon.

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15. Dan Mullen

15. Dan Mullen

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

Dan Mullen could make a strong case for being the idiot of the year in all of college football and that says a lot in a sport that puts Dabo Swinney on television every week. In the middle of a deadly pandemic, Mullen said he wanted Florida’s home stadium packed with 90,000 people and then he proceeded to test positive for COVID before the team’s next game. Around the same time that Mullen got COVID, the program went through one of the worst outbreaks in college football. The Gators were forced to stop football activities for nearly two weeks and dozens of athletes tested positive for the disease. Recently, it was announced that his recruiting violations put Florida on a one-year probation. Not to mention his team’s defense was trash all year and one of his starting defensive backs ended their playoff chances by throwing a shoe twenty yards.

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14. Ron DeSantis

14. Ron DeSantis

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

Where do you start? The pandemic kicked off with DeSantis granting WWE special status as an essential business so they could continue to film live shows in Orlando, with the help of a large check to the local Republican party from the McMahon family. That was against the backdrop of Florida being a raging hotspot for the virus, which DeSantis barely lifted a finger to stop, and he will soon bend over to whatever whims the NFL and WWE have to stage the Super Bowl and WrestleMania in the coming year. That doesn’t even get into the borderline war-crime level offense of fudging or simply lying about actual statistics concerning the virus, and then firing and intimidating employees who crossed the line by presenting “truth.”

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13. Los Angeles Chargers Medical Staff

13. Los Angeles Chargers Medical Staff

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

The team doctor for the Los Angeles Chargers punctured the lung of Chargers starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor when giving him a cortisone shot on September 20, just minutes before their game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The plan for head coach Anthony Lynn was to let the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Justin Herbert, sit in the wings and learn. Apparently, the team doctor had different ideas, and was at fault for throwing the rookie into the fire against the defending Super Bowl Champions. It takes a special kind of stupid to essentially ruin what looks to be the last chance Tyrod Taylor had at a starting gig in the NFL. Poor Tyrod.

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12. Bill O’Brien

12. Bill O’Brien

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

Oh, Bill. Good ol’ Bill. How does a head coach and acting General Manager screw over a team as bad as this guy did? After sending star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for an oft-injured and expensive aging running back and the equivalent of a bag of moldy peanuts, it’s a miracle good ol’ Bill kept his job to start the season. After an 0-4 start and O’Brien thinking, “Ya know, I really should take on even more responsibility” — while also managing to give away the Texans’ first- and second-round picks in the 2021 draft — it was really beyond time for him to go. Bill O’Brien was really, really bad at his job, and nothing against the guy personally, but he really should just stay gone from the NFL.

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11. Danuel House

11. Danuel House

Illustration for article titled 2020 Idiot of the Year: The void beckons with Novak Djokovic, Ron DeSantis, and Jason Whitlocks stupid hat
Illustration: Getty Images

House has the unfortunate distinction of being the only player kicked out of the 2020 NBA bubble, catching the boot after league officials got wind of his ill-advised booty call with a female COVID testing official. As the league bent over backwards to not completely screw everything up in Orlando — and, honestly, they did a pretty good job — House’s indiscretions stuck out like a sore thumb.



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