Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget

Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget

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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 — all qualities that exist under the tentpole of idiocy, but 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 it’s 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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Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget

Adam Gase, who couldn’t even execute a proper tank job

Betsy DeVos, for her repeated efforts to dismantle Title IX protections. That girl is poison

Tulsi Gabbard, for her standout work in the field of moronic transphobia

Mariano Rivera, for so openly embracing Donald Trump that it became impossible to ignore anymore. His betrayal cut deeper than his fastball

Adam Silver, for successfully executing a summer NBA bubble, then, with the pandemic even worse in the fall, saying “the hell with it” and going ahead with basketball outside the bubble

Jarrell Miller, for failing a fourth drug test within a two-year span, again losing himself life-changing opportunities and millions of dollars. (He’s now banned for two years by the Nevada State Athletic Commission)

Raul Bobadilla, the Paraguayan striker who got so caught up in a goal celebration that he took out his dick. Whoops

Craig Carton, who hasn’t really done anything too bad since his return to radio, but you just know it’s coming

Nate Robinson, for not choosing better friends that would have talked him out of receiving an all-time ass-whooping

Denver Broncos assistant coaches, for really trying to suit up at QB in an NFL game

The dude that let this happen to him:

Big Trophy corporations, who sat idly by as Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz unjustly took the hit for shattering the team’s Mayo Bowl prize

Tom Gores, the obscenely wealthy Pistons owner who recently said it’s a “blessing” to own a prison phone company

All the people who never seem to recognize Tony Hawk in public

Mississippi State and Tulsa, for throwing hands and risking their scholarships in a game no one cared about. Even if the bowl was sponsored by violence, you can’t be drop-kicking folks in a college football game

Air Bud Jr., for shattering his family legacy with a disturbing pivot to vaccine skepticism

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50. Ben Sasse

50. Ben Sasse

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Ben probably thought he was doing his constituents a favor by fighting to return Big 10 football to the field in the summer. But being a leader sometimes means making the unpopular choice, even if it is the easiest, which would have been not risking the health and lives of college students/indentured servants just so people could put on a confused face to watch Nebraska football. A relief from that “Wreck Of The Hesperus” would have been a little light in the very dark COVID-19 times.

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49. Steve Forbes

49. Steve Forbes

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Wake Forest, once a national powerhouse basketball program that produced players like Tim Duncan and Chris Paul, has fallen off the map. Dramatically. When Wake fired Danny Manning in April, they brought in Steve Forbes from East Tennessee State. You know, another blue-blood. But, on the day of Forbes’ hiring announcement, Wake Forest sports released a tweet trying to pump up the fan base. It didn’t work. The video showed Forbes yelling and spiking his mask. Our colleague, Carron Phillips, summed up the introduction perfectly: Forbes “looked like a new principal trying to hype up some unenthused high school seniors during a boring assembly.”

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48. Usain Bolt

48. Usain Bolt

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Usain Bolt attended his own large, maskless surprise birthday party. Unsurprisingly, he contracted coronavirus. The fastest man in the world celebrated his 34th birthday with dozens of athletes, celebrities, and family members at a huge party in Jamaica. Just days after the event, though, Bolt went into quarantine. Sounds fun.

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47. Tony Bruno

47. Tony Bruno

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Tony Bruno, after a decades-long career built on marrying the worst of sports and conservative talk radio, finally crashed and burned this year in glorious fashion. The same week the NBA righteously led a boycott in response to Jacob Blake’s shooting at the hands of Wisconsin police, Bruno uncorked a rant that would be his undoing. Bruno’s tirade spiraled into outright bigotry as he claimed most NBA players “can’t even read, for god’s sake,” with Deadspin writing up Bruno’s gross appeal to the decades-old racist trope. Bruno was summarily dropped by two national networks, and his final day on air hilariously featured the gasbag vowing to have Deadspin “brought to justice” while blasting the report’s author as “slipshod” and a “cracker.” Some called the situation a “kerfuffle,” while others, like loyal Deadspin reader Laura Ingraham, bemoaned Bruno’s ouster as “cancel culture” at work. One thing is clear, though: Tony Bruno is an idiot.

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46. Yoenis Cespedes

46. Yoenis Cespedes

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It wasn’t idiotic for Yoenis Cespedes to opt out of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, but he could’ve been more efficient in handling the situation. Back in August, Cespedes no-showed for an afternoon game between his New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. He was missing. Some feared the worst, especially given how everything this year has been terrible. Ultimately, after eight games and 31 at bats, he just left the team… without telling anyone, and in a contract year, no less. This came after his salary was reduced by over $23 million following an abrupt 2019 season-ending ranch incident. On top of that, he’s still a free agent, and we don’t know if he’ll play again. Presumably, he wants to, but hasn’t helped himself over the last year, or really, the last two years.

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45. Cristiano Ronaldo

45. Cristiano Ronaldo

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Sadly, Ronaldo only tested positive for COVID-19, instead of testing positive for “being in prison for one or all of the multiple rape accusations against him.”

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44. Will Fuller

44. Will Fuller

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The Houston Texans wide receiver finally had a chance to prove to the NFL that he could stay on the field after playing in no more than 11 games in each of the last four seasons. He was seemingly piecing it all together in the absence of DeAndre Hopkins, was having a career year heading into free agency this offseason… then he was suspended for six games for using performance enhancing drugs. In true idiot fashion, Fuller blamed his doctor for the ban, claiming he had been too trusting of the medical regimen prescribed for him. Guess how many games Will Fuller played in this year? That’s right, 11. Good luck with that offseason, bud.

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43. Jeff Luhnow

43. Jeff Luhnow

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Do you remember the name Gary Condit? If you don’t, that’s okay. Condit was the California representative whose affair with Chandra Levy, a woman 30 years younger, was revealed after Levy was murdered in May of 2001. It was a huge story for that whole summer, and even though Condit never was a suspect in the still-unsolved case, he was the subject of a world of negative attention and got primaried out of office. But the reason you wouldn’t remember Condit is that 9/11 happened, he slinked away, and nobody really heard from him again until he went on Dr. Phil, 15 years later. Jeff Luhnow, the disgraced former Astros general manager, could’ve taken a similar route out of the public eye thanks to 2020 being, well, 2020. Instead, this idiot did a 37-minute interview with Houston’s NBC affiliate, proclaiming how good and virtuous and not a mastermind of a cheating scheme he was. Either Luhnow was lying, and was way more involved in the cheating than he said, or he was telling the truth, and he was a horrendous executive with no idea what was happening in his organization. That’s definitely something you want to come back into the public eye to get out there, right?

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42. Mike Milbury

42. Mike Milbury

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It was once startling, then depressingly common, that leagues love to champion their female fandom numbers when presenting spreadsheets to stockholders, and yet these same organizations let their broadcasts, the very vehicle carrying their product to said fans, insult them stupidly. Milbury was just one of the latest to label women something other than, y’know, people. To Milbury, women were merely a distraction, and NHL players were better off without them in the sealed-off bubbles of Edmonton and Toronto. Even if you can ignore the broad swipe at womankind as a whole, painting them merely as walking orifices to tease and corrupt these saintly hockey players, there were probably a few players themselves who didn’t exactly appreciate their wives and girlfriends being presented merely as obstacles to their work. But Milbury has been spewing drivel for decades now, especially when he had a job with a team, and yet we can’t seem to get rid of him. In nature, you do need vents for noxious gases, lest they build up to dangerous levels. But until Milbury has proven that’s what he is, let’s just keep him in storage.

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41. Tilman Fertitta

41. Tilman Fertitta

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While most of the recent attention around the Rockets has been on James Harden’s dadaist interpretation of Punky Brewster, the Rockets got here by way of their billionaire owner’s crippling phobia of the luxury tax. Thanks to his penny-pinching, the Rockets have been able to amass two superstars at the top of the roster, Harden and either Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook or now John Wall. But they haven’t been able to build depth, which has seen them crash out of the playoffs and sour Harden on the whole operation. While Fertitta will claim the pandemic has crippled his restaurant-based worth, he’s still worth $4B.

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40. Kirk Cousins

40. Kirk Cousins

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Days before the NFL season began, Kirk Cousins — a media-trained, $24 million-a-year quarterback — said he was cool getting the coronavirus… even if it killed him. “I’m gonna let nature do its course. Survival of the fittest kind of approach,” he told The Ringer. “If it knocks me out, it knocks me out. I’m going to be OK. You know, even if I die. If I die, I die.” We can happily report that Kirk Cousins is alive, well, and still a mediocre QB. He just didn’t choose the best words when he broke the universe with his stupidity.

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39. Justin Rohrwasser

39. Justin Rohrwasser

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The New England Patriots made an odd decision to take a kicker in the fifth round of the draft. It was odder still that the kicker they picked wasn’t Georgia star Rodrigo Blankenship, but Justin Rohrwasser of Marshall. Then, it turned out that Rohrwasser had a tattoo representing the white supremacist “III%” group. This idiot’s explanation didn’t pass the smell test for a minute, although a lot of the media was willing to roll with it (wonder why). Rohrwasser said he’d get the tattoo removed, and then it turned out that it hardly mattered anyway, as Nick Folk wound up winning the kicker job in New England. Meanwhile, the undrafted Blankenship has been solid all year for the Colts.

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38. Ben Roethlisberger

38. Ben Roethlisberger

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See Ronaldo, Cristiano.

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37. Jon Gruden

37. Jon Gruden

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If you were writing a humorous yet cringeworthy coffee table book for the COVID-era titled “50 ways not to wear a mask,” then Gruden could be the inspiration for roughly three quarters of the book. The saga of his mask ineptitude started on September 14, when the league sent a memo to all clubs after Week 1 of the season, which saw Gruden and others struggle. Gruden responded by saying “I’ve got to do a better job of keeping my mask over my face. It was really hot…” Whoo boy. The next week, he tried to get away with essentially wearing a thong over his nose. On October 5, Gruden and the Raiders were fined $565,000 for mask violations. Apparently that wasn’t enough. A month later, on November 5, the Raiders were fined another $500,000, Gruden a separate $150,000, and the NFL took their 2021 sixth-round pick. Gruden cost his team over a million dollars and a draft pick because he can’t wear a damn mask.

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36. Matt Gaetz

36. Matt Gaetz

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Remember earlier in the year when this idiot wore a gas mask on the House floor in mockery of the pandemic? Well, now, after a summer full of prodding Florida college athletics to continue unimpeded, Gaetz is not going anywhere near the House floor, out of concern for the pandemic.

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35. Dana White

35. Dana White

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When COVID hit on March 11 and 12, forcing stoppages all throughout the country, the UFC powered on with their Brazilian-based UFC Fight Night headlined by Charles Oliveria vs Kevin Lee. The event took place behind closed doors on March 14 with no attendance. White then tried to power on, shuffling around events, scrambling to keep the show rolling despite the worldwide outbreak. They returned in May with UFC 249, and even that was a hectic process. The event was originally scheduled for April 18 at Barclays Center, and Khabib Nurmagomedov couldn’t leave Russia to finally face Tony Ferguson because of COVID, so Justin Gaethje stepped in. Gaethje destroyed Ferguson, and with Khabib’s retirement, fight fans are once again robbed of the super-fight that never was. There was also the encouraging of sports leagues to come to looney ass Jacksonville to get their competitions off the ground in May, and this was after Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID, canceling his fight with Uriah Hall. And then, in a stroke of true American stubbornness, Fight Island.

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34. Jerry Reinsdorf

34. Jerry Reinsdorf

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What do you do if you have perhaps the American League’s most exciting young team poised to go on a run of years of contention? Well, if you’re a bewildered old man who still thinks it’s 1987, you try and right wrongs that are over 30 years old and hire an even more bewildered old man to manage said team! And he’s a drunk-ass racist who had just been arrested for his second DUI! Hey, in 1987 we found baseball managers drunkenly crashing their car charming and funny, so you gotta give Ol’ Jerry a break. Fans will have a lot of obstacles to return to the park comfortably in 2021. Sox fans will also have to find a way around their owner’s giant middle finger at every gate.

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33. Deadspin Staff

33. Deadspin Staff

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget

If you run into a burning building, you’re a hero. If you run into the husk of a building that’s already been burned to the ground and you have to engage in a Gangs of New York-style tussle with angry, squatting raccoons to declare it your new home, you’re an idiot.

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32. Arizona Coyotes

32. Arizona Coyotes

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It’s fun to blame Theranos for bilking millions and millions of dollars out of rich dopes. But hey, if those rich dopes want to toss around their money without doing any research, that’s a yo’ fault. Same with John Chayka, as he packed up and left the Arizona Coyotes high and dry after a run as GM that was a total swindle. Sure, Chayka is just a nice-looking airhead who put on a good presentation about analytic ways to run a hockey team and then proceeded to turn the Coyotes into a capped-out Beverly Hillbillies-car of mediocrity going nowhere. But it’s the Coyotes that paid him to do so before he hightailed it for...well, whatever shysters do with their pocketed booty. And it’s the Coyotes who will have to pick the acorns out of the shit he left behind.

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31. Clay Travis

31. Clay Travis

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Clay Travis could be on this list for multiple reasons but the most egregious one is because he continuously downplayed a deadly virus that has now taken the lives of over 315,000 people in this country and severely impacted millions of others. Travis has continuously said that Americans have overreacted to the virus and even compared it to the flu even though reports have proven that COVID is much worse. Travis has used his platform to try to prove he’s been right about this virus instead of using it to help thwart the spread by listening to CDC guidelines.

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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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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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20. Novak Djokovic

20. Novak Djokovic

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Los Angeles Chargers

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

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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

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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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10. Zach Plesac, the stupidest canary in baseball’s coal mine

10. Zach Plesac, the stupidest canary in baseball’s coal mine

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Getty Images

It’s no surprise that baseball players can have their head in the sand a lot of the time. The baseball season itself is so disorienting that by July, most of them don’t know what day it is, or what city they’re in, and can only focus on playing that day’s game, and then the next day happens and they can only think about that day’s game.

Still, after baseball spent months figuring out the incredibly detailed processes and protocols to have a season, you’d think MLB players would have been aware that it was pretty important. Not something to be sloughed off. Or, at least, wait more than a week before ignoring them to go out to yuppie bars in downtown Chicago. Like, at least give yourself the out of frustration of being pent up inside a hotel.

Zach Plesac couldn’t manage that. Neither could the St. Louis Cardinals. It took them each just slightly more than a week. Plesac couldn’t resist the lure of the Chicago nightlife, which in August wasn’t really much of anything, thanks to the city’s measures to counteract the pandemic. What exactly he was chasing is a mystery, unless a patio was that important to him.

It got him sent home from the team, and his teammate Mike Clevinger traded to San Diego.

And it was only a couple weeks. The protocols were still fresh. It should have been simple. And yet, to a lot of baseball players, it can never be simple enough.

And you can kind of see how baseball players keep getting clocked in CBA negotiations. They traded all their avenues to getting paid more and paid earlier in their careers for suites on the road. They never seem to see beyond their own world. Baseball is only dressed up as a team sport, and through instances like this, you can see how much of a costume that is.

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9. Rudolph Giuliani, irascible bug-man

9. Rudolph Giuliani, irascible bug-man

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Illustration: Getty Images

As the Deadspin staff cast its IDIOT OF THE YEAR ballots, in our discussion we noted that there was a distinction between those who are evil and those who are idiotic.

At No. 9 we have someone who truly exemplifies both, former “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani, now consigliere for the Trump crime family.

What can you say about a guy who gets duped by Borat and it wasn’t even his most embarrassing blunder of the year?

Giuliani appears in a (“heavily edited”) clip in Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, where he is being “interviewed” by “Borat’s 15-year-old daughter,” who is really 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova.

Bakalova asks Rudy, “Shall we have a drink in the bedroom?” Rudy follows her, asks for her email and phone number, and begins adjusting his pants.

Judge for yourself if he’s acting inappropriately before Borat rushes into the room.

That led to this ridiculous statement:

This of course was just the appetizer for the s gaffe that led to him holding a press conference about the Trump campaign’s absurd claims of election fraud in Pennsylvania at the Four Seasons … Landscaping company, not the hotel. Trump staffers referred to the debacle as a “Giuliani special.”

He also confused the sport that the Philadelphia Eagles play.

“You knew that people were coming over from Camden to vote … It’s about as frequent as getting beat up at a Philadelphia Eagles basketball, uh, football game. Happens all the time.”

Let us not forget the hair dye dripping down his face.

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8. Rob Manfred, the man who sold the world

8. Rob Manfred, the man who sold the world

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Illustration: Getty Images

All you need to know about Rob Manfred is he’s the first commissioner to lose the PR battle to the players. For the entire history of MLB, whenever there’s been strife between the players and owners, fans have generally gotten angry at the players. After all, those are the people the fans see, the ones they root for, the ones who are far more in the public eye. So it always feels, to most, that it’s the players who are taking baseball away when it’s not around.

This time around, because of Manfred’s clown-glove handling of MLB’s return to play during the pandemic, everyone was pretty much on the players’ side. Manfred didn’t seem to recognize that even the most anti-union fan could see it was the players taking all the risk, which they made clear they were willing to do. All they wanted was to be paid for the time they showed up for.

And yet every time Manfred opened his vacuous maw, he made things worse. Whether it was about what the owners could afford or what they couldn’t, outlandish claims about their losses, the problem everyone saw with whatever he said is that he or the owners never provided any evidence to back it up. We know what players make, and they get scrutinized for it every day of their career. We have no idea what the owners are taking in, and any question about it is greeted with “Trust us.” Why would we?

The players correctly pegged Manfred’s and the owners’ wishes to be only playing 60 games, and they simply let them have it when it was clear they would get totally clocked on a “bad faith’’ negotiating claim. It’s one thing to be evil. It’s another to be evil and transparantly stupid.

Manfred couldn’t even handle the actual season right either, as the goalposts either kept moving or were figments of the imagination altogether. In reality, when the outbreak with the Marlins and Cardinals hit, the season as a whole should have been stopped. Everyone knew it. But it wasn’t, because Manfred wouldn’t take that loss. He’d already taken more than enough.

He got his World Series in, which was capped by a player who tested positive being the main story afterward as he galavanted around with his teammates. By any logic, once Justin Turner tested positive, the Series should have been stopped.

But Manfred’s true nature, that of a spineless weasel only dead set on maximizing his bosses’ profits (which is really the only description of the job now, to be fair), wouldn’t allow for that either. So it just carried on into having a black eye.

Even on a more micro level, Manfred doesn’t understand what the problem is with his sport, if it even has a problem. While some or lots bemoan the style of play, baseball has seen record revenues every year. Is it really a problem?

Manfred’s volleys at defensive shifting or the DH in the NL or this gimmick in extra innings at best paw at the issue and at worst miss it altogether. Dictating where fielders can stand does nothing to cap the proliferation of strikeouts and walks in the game. The way velocity has simply overpowered hitters. The way teams can just roll through 15-20 relievers or more per season until their elbows turn to dust, and then find the next one. This is the problem.

Baseball needs more action. It’s not just that the games are too long because the games are too long. If that was the problem, you could just cut ad-time between innings. But don’t sit on a hot stove waiting for that to happen. The games are too long because too much is not happening. Strikeouts generally take four to five pitches. Walks take more, and don’t really move the game along.

Manfred has yet to demonstrate he understands this. He possibly might have when the ball suddenly got juiced a year or two ago, though he’s claimed that wasn’t his doing. Which is weird, because MLB owns Rawlings, so either they ordered the ball to be juiced and are covering it up or they have no control over their own product. Neither is good. Baseball needs more contact and action, and Manfred hasn’t done much to get that.

But he’s done his job in that owners are making more money than ever. TBS just signed a new mega-deal to televise. So in 2021, Manfred will likely be on this list again. And the years after that. And his bosses won’t care.

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7. Roger Goodell, perpetrator of a dumb, greedy farce

7. Roger Goodell, perpetrator of a dumb, greedy farce

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell certainly had his fair share of idiotic moments this year.

The coronavirus and racial justice movement sent all sports into a tailwind this year worldwide, and only the best leaders were able to steady the ships and emerge with minimal damage.

Goodell was not one of those leaders.

The NFL commissioner has repeatedly been a day late and a dollar short this year. First, Goodell failed to postpone the 2020 NFL Draft in April, even though pro days around the country were canceled and teams had limited access to prospects because of COVID-19. As a result, only six FCS players were selected, including only one HBCU player. Contrast this with the 13 FCS picks from 2019, including four players from HBCUs. If you think that doesn’t make a difference, ask Hall of Famers like Jerry Rice or Walter Payton whether drafting small-school and HBCU talent is important.

This summer, in the wake of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and George Floyd, Goodell had to apologize to players for not listening on matters of racial injustice.

If Goodell had listened to Colin Kaepernick in 2016, and not allowed the league to blackball the Black quarterback, he wouldn’t have been in that situation. If Goodell would have stuck by Kaepernick’s side at the time of his initial protests, many of the NFL’s racial justice-related PR nightmares could have been avoided.

Now, in 2020, Goodell is reaping what he has sown. For many, it’s far too late for the NFL to suddenly jump on the bandwagon.

Once it came time for play to start, it was clear that Goodell, from the outset, was dangerously close to fumbling the season. Many asked why the league wouldn’t just implement a bubble system for play similar to the NBA’s successful setup in Orlando. Others asked whether the NFL’s COVID measures were good enough to limit outbreaks and keep players safe.

Numerous players have tested positive for COVID-19 this season, and some teams like the Ravens and Titans have wrestled with significant crises as a result. Players like the Saints’ Emmanuel Sanders and the Browns’ Myles Garrett have spoken about how hard the virus has hit them.

It was clear at the time, and it’s even more obvious in hindsight, that Goodell should have tried to do more to protect these players. But the commissioner continued to try to plow through, even as cases rose, compromising both safety and the on-field product.

Goodell has come up short over and over this year, which is why he finds himself on this list. He has prioritized the NFL’s bottom line to the detriment of players and their families. The bubble burst on his reluctance to stand behind players in their fight against racial injustice. He limited opportunities for small-school prospects to make it.

Goodell has made his bed and now he must lay in it.

Welcome to the idiot list.

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6. Dabo Swinney, brainless molder of young minds

6. Dabo Swinney, brainless molder of young minds

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Getty Images

Think of all the stupid things college football coaches have said this year. We know, it’s a lot. Then imagine how much stupid one has to put out into the world to be the stupidest college football coach in any given year.

America, we present to you Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney, without a doubt the biggest idiot in college football this year.

There have been a lot of people in this country who don’t really “get” the COVID pandemic, how virulent it is, how serious it is. But perhaps no one got it less in 2020 than Dabo.

Given, this is the same Dabo who said he’ll quit coaching if players ever get paid (Hey Dabo, you’re currently two years into your 10-year, $93 million deal, I bet you won’t), so we’re not looking to the Clemson sidelines for good takes on anything. That said, you’d still like to see the highest paid employee in the state of South Carolina with a better grasp on a pandemic that has killed more than 336,000 Americans to date, especially when said employee is in charge of the well-being of dozens of young men.

But if you were looking to Swinney for a responsible take on COVID, you don’t know Dabo! We should have seen it coming back in April, when Dabo suggested that America could America the virus right back to where it came from:

“This is America, man. We’ve stormed the beaches of Normandy. We’ve sent a rover out on Mars and walked on the moon. This is the greatest country. We’ve created an iPhone where I can sit here and talk to people in all these different places. We’ve got the smartest people in the world. We’re going to rise up and kick this thing in the teeth and get back to our lives.”

But Dabo’s 2020 coup de grace was complaining that Florida State backed out of a game against Clemson, after the Tigers let a symptomatic player practice all week, only pulling him once he tested positive for COVID. Not only did Swinney demand FSU forfeit the game and give Clemson the win, he doubled down on it repeatedly, suggesting that not wanting to subject young men to a virus that may or may not cause lasting heart damage was a sign of weakness in FSU’s game plan. Or something.

If you thought the internet dunking that Dabo took after that was going to deter him from further terrible takes, you’ll be shocked to learn that Dabo has been insisting that his team play in front of fans during the college football playoff. Here’s what he had to say about the Rose Bowl ahead of the ACC title game on December 19:

“It makes no sense to me to put a bunch of kids on a plane and fly them all the way to California to play in an empty stadium,” Swinney said, almost getting it before swerving into idiocy. “That makes zero sense to me when you have plenty of stadiums where you can have fans and, most importantly, you can have families. It should be the same for all four teams as far as the opportunity that you have. This year everybody has had to make adjustments. To me, that would be a simple one to make.”

Dabo got his way, as college football coaches always seem to do. His team will now play in the Sugar Bowl in the New Orleans Superdome, with 3,000 fans in attendance. What makes even less sense, Dabo, is forcing unpaid teenagers to continue to risk their lives long-term health in the midst of a pandemic so you can continue to make millions. In case you missed it, Louisiana is doing so well that their new congressman-elect, Luke Letlow, passed away from COVID yesterday. He was 41 years old. The situation in New Orleans itself is so dire, Mayor LaToya Cantrell is threatening to shut down bars and brewpubs as early as today if the positivity rate doesn’t drop off. What a great place for a college bowl game!

Of course, none of this matters to guys like Dabo, for whom football is the only master they serve. After all, this is a guy who “didn’t understand” why the NCAA made him give his players the day off from practice so they could vote, after all.

There are plenty of men in amateur athletics who only care about the young men and women in their charge as the means to an end. But not all of them are stupid enough to make it so blatantly obvious over and over again.

Dabo Swinney, congrats on being one of the biggest idiots of the year.

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5. Justin Turner, compulsive exacerbator

5. Justin Turner, compulsive exacerbator

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Getty Images

One of the most frustrating things about 2020 is the amount of power wielded by idiots to make life worse for everyone else. Obviously, that’s been the case for a long time, and particularly through the last four years of having one of the biggest idiots in the world as President of the United States.

Never before, though, have so many idiots been so proud of their idiocy and how idiotic they’re making life for the people around them.

There’s the idiot who refused to wear a mask at a New York bagel store and purposely coughed on another customer. There’s the idiot who threw the contents of her shopping cart all over a Dallas supermarket after being asked to wear the mask that she was holding in her hand. And then there’s the idiot third baseman from Los Angeles and his maskless escapades at the World Series.

Justin Turner was allowed to start Game 6 of the World Series for the Dodgers even though his COVID-19 test results hadn’t come back yet. Not his fault.

Turner’s results from Monday (the day before Game 6) came back inconclusive in the second inning, and he was allowed to stay in the game. Still not his fault.

A same-day test then came back positive, and Turner finally was pulled from the game, with the Dodgers just a couple of innings from clinching. Turner still hasn’t done anything wrong yet. It sucks for him, but none of this is his fault.

All of the idiocy of Turner’s story, to this point, can be laid at the feet of Rob Manfred, the No. 8 Idiot of 2020 on our list. But then the Dodgers won the World Series, and Turner was not going to be denied the chance to celebrate on the field with his teammates, even though he knew the reason he had to come out of the game was that he had coronavirus.

Not only that, but once he was on the field, Turner — coronavirus-positive and aware of it — took off his mask to be part of the team picture and other festivities. Ah, but they were in a bubble for the MLB playoffs, right? Well, not so good of a bubble if one of the players managed to get coronavirus. And also, just generally, when you have a highly infectious disease that’s killed thousands of people and is the entire reason you’ve gone through all these months of protocols… get the fuck out of the building and into isolation, you idiot.

And, lo and behold, days after the World Series, there were a bunch of positive coronavirus tests in the Dodgers organization. Turner wasn’t officially connected to those cases, but also everyone at every level in baseball was actively involved in trying to make the world forget about Turner’s idiocy.

While you had Thanksgiving and Christmas at home, Turner is every jerk from high school that you saw on Facebook having what looked like perfectly normal holidays. And even getting COVID-19 wasn’t enough to make him take it seriously.

Within just hours of finding out he tested positive, this asshole was on the field, pulling his mask down, partying it up with his colleagues, their families, and everyone else who had to work to make the World Series an event that happened, like the camera operators and technicians who might not even have known what close proximity they were in to someone carrying the virus.

What an idiot.

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4. Curt Schilling, utterly incapable of rational thought

4. Curt Schilling, utterly incapable of rational thought

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Photo: Getty Images

Do we really need to do this one? Does anyone out there not know why Curt Schilling is an idiot at this point? If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, our Jesse Spector summed up the reasons why no one should even consider voting for Schilling for the Hall of Fame here:

For non-baseball reasons, though… we don’t have to go through the whole laundry list, but it’s generally bad when “defrauding Rhode Island for $75 million” is just scratching the surface. More recently, Schilling has encouraged people to give to a GoFundMe to build a border wall that — surprise! — also turned out to be a massive fraud and resulted in Steve Bannon’s arrest on a boat. And, of course, there’s the “so much awesome here” comment about a shirt suggesting the lynching of journalists. That last one is particularly germane to the discussion of Schilling’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame, where the vote is conducted among the very people Schilling thought it would be “awesome” to see murdered.

Of course, we haven’t yet gotten to his collection of “WWII memorabilia,” which consists of enough swastikas and SS gear to prompt one historian to declare that Schilling has “some kind of fetish with Nazi uniforms,” a fetish Schilling might have been more successful in denying if his views didn’t so closely align with the former Third Reich. In an email to the Arizona Republic in 2019, Schilling announced to shrugs and eye rolls that he was “considering” running for Congress, writing:

“The state is not the state I grew up in. Making Arizona citizens of EVERY Race, religion and sexual orientation 2nd class citizens to illegal immigrants is about as anti-American as it gets. When you have homeless veterans, children, and you’re spending tax dollars on people smuggling drugs and children across our border someone in charge needs their ass kicked.”

Curt apparently saw this tapestry of suck for the masterpiece it was, because two months later, Schilling put out the word that he was interested in working as an MLB manager, an organization that definitely doesn’t have any immigrants in it.

Alas, this is not a body of work award. Actually, it’s not an award at all, but we digress. The Idiot of the Year finalists must have been idiots in 2020 to qualify. Luckily for us, Schilling just keeps tweeting.

As mentioned above, Schilling kicked off 2020 serving on the board of Steve Bannon’s “We Build The Wall” fundraising group for a border wall that Mexico is definitely still going to pay for, alongside such conservative luminaries as Erik Prince and former Milwaukee county sheriff David Clarke Jr. Bannon and three other men were indicted by a federal grand jury for defrauding donors to the tune of $25 million, and there was hope for a few days that we might see Schilling frog marched into federal court. But it was not to be.

Now that he no longer has fake border wall meetings taking up his free time, Curt is free, as the kids say, to tweet through it. And boy, is he ever trying to tweet through it.

Here, we see young Curtis Montague (seriously, that’s his middle name) being an absolute creep about the death of actress Dawn Wells:

Because what woman doesn’t want to be remembered for whether or not Curt Schilling imagines she “brought it” every time, as opposed to just some of the time?

Here’s Curt spelling “Democrats” wrong and definitely not knowing who Mitch McConnell is:

Who owns the Nazi gear again? Just sayin’.

But to be fair, Curt spends most of his time trying to convince people with the IQ of a potato that the election was rigged:

And that the news COVID vaccines are ineffective and also will be mandatory or something.

So if they don’t work why do you care if they’re mandatory, Curt?!

Curt, having apparently given up any pretense of being a respectable person, also spends a fair amount of time RTing people like Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk, and @ing Vice President Mike Pence.

But what truly qualifies Curt for this vaunted ranking in our 2020 Idiot of the Year class is that he’s just so dumb. Everything that comes out of his mouth is some galaxy-brained ayahuasca 6th grade take that anyone who took 8th grade civics can debunk. We’d actually be embarrassed for him if he wasn’t so damn malignant.

Curt, here’s to reaching the top in 2021.

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3. Rudy Gobert, whose iconic display of hubris will live on forever

3. Rudy Gobert, whose iconic display of hubris will live on forever

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Getty Images

It’s 2040, and you’re out at a bar trivia night. It’s safe to do that again, has been for 19 years or so now.

“The NBA’s leader in total rebounds in 2019-20, this player was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, an All-Star, and four-time first-team All-Defense,” the emcee says.

You’re racking your brain, and you think maybe it could be Andre Drummond, or Hassan Whiteside, or maybe even Bam Adebayo? No, wait, those guys weren’t DPOYs… jeez, who is it?

“Oh, yeah,” the emcee adds. “You might also know this player as the COVID guy.”

Before the word “guy” is even done reverberating through the bar, you’ve written down the correct answer. Of course, it’s Rudy Gobert, the NBA’s Typhoid Mary.

It’s not just that no matter what he does, like signing a well-earned, five-year, $205 million extension with the Jazz two weeks ago, Gobert always will be remembered for goofily rubbing his hands over all the microphones at a press conference, only to have it turn out that he had coronavirus.

It’s not just that Gobert’s positive test was what finally, after arduous debate and the implementation of various half-measures like closing locker rooms to reporters, got the sports world to shut down.

It’s that, to be forever known as the COVID guy, in a year when so many people acted so brazenly and so stupidly, then had it bite them in the ass, that’s a special level of idiot, and that’s what Gobert is.

Sympathizing with Gobert being the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus would have been a lot easier if he hadn’t made a mockery of it in the first place. While it’s true that none of us knew then how out of control it would get and how long the pandemic would last, it was still serious stuff nine months ago.

In a lot of ways, the Frenchman was as American as anyone in 2020, making a joke of something that he didn’t see as really threatening him, and only grasping the seriousness of the situation when it was too late. In a lot of ways, Gobert is a stand-in here for a nation that was pretty damn idiotic in the first couple of months of this year.

Gobert was totally wrong, but to be fair to him, he would change his idiotic behavior if given another chance. That is what separates the idiots from the assholes, like, say, Donald Trump, or the late Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who went maskless at many campaign events, pushed to “reopen the economy,” and then died of coronavirus after being elected. Not that those who continued to downplay the virus throughout 2020 aren’t also idiots, because they are, but Gobert does have “not being an asshole” going for him.

Thankfully, Gobert’s case of coronavirus wasn’t that serious, and there was no word of any deleterious effects for the people he infected. That also makes it a bit easier to laugh at him, as does the fact that his idiocy, by way of highlighting how easy it is to spread COVID-19, hastened the shutdown and saved lives in the spring. Unfortunately, because of the idiot assholes, the collective action taken in the spring wasn’t sufficient to prevent the deadliest months of coronavirus from happening in the fall.

Gobert is back playing basketball outside of a bubble now, even though the virus is more widespread now than it was at the time of his gaffe. That’s an indictment of the assholes. Gobert will just forever be an idiot, the man who managed, amid everything else that happened in 2020, to be the COVID guy.

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2. Donald Trump, brainless molder of old minds

2. Donald Trump, brainless molder of old minds

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Getty Images

“WHAT?” you’re probably saying to yourself right now. “How can Trump be number TWO when it comes to the biggest idiots of the year?” A just query, Reader.

Although malevolence is a factor in ranking our idiots, it’s not an overriding one. These rankings are based on idiocy. Foolishness, imbecility, insipidity. This is a man who has looked directly at an eclipse. And anyway, we kind of like the idea of Trump finishing second to a woman.

Donald Trump is a horrible person and a malignant president. He’s also a transcendently dumb human being. You might think that in a year dominated by an election and a global pandemic, there would be no time for such idiocy. You would be wrong.

Trump started off the year with a bang, hiring a bunch of college seniors into important administrative roles, because loyalty! From there, he went on to suggesting that his coronavirus task team, headed up by the guy responsible for an AIDS epidemic in his home state of Indiana, look into injecting disinfectant into people to combat the disease, leading to one of the greatest Tik Toks ever created and prompting Lysol to put out a warning that people should not inject themselves with disinfectant, even to own the libs. Of course, all this was amidst insisting that America was only leading the world in COVID cases because of the number of tests that were being given, showing a complete and total lack of understanding of the words “per capita.”

We had a short respite during the summer of 2020, when COVID seemed to be on the decline. That gave Trump plenty of time to insist he only hurried to the underground White House bunker to perform an inspection and not because of the throngs of righteous Black Lives Matter protesters across the street. Not even Asskisser in Chief Bill Barr could go along with that whopper.

Trump also tried to hold a political rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth, which he was forced to move after a public backlash. American teens, and K-pop stans in particular, RSVPed for huge swaths of tickets online, leaving Trump “furious” about the underwhelming crowd size. He also spent the night proving to America that he could drink water from a glass and walk down a ramp unassisted. Who says we don’t put the best people in office in this country?

In July, the president bragged to us all about how well he did on a cognitive test at Walter Reed, not realizing the test he was given is commonly used to screen for dementia, nor understanding that Americans would rightly have some concerns about the Commander in Chief being tested for dementia while remaining in the Oval Office.

The next day, Trump lied about being asked to throw out the first pitch at the Yankees’ home opener, because he was jealous that Dr. Anthony Fauci was doing the honors at the Nationals game. Once everyone found out that Trump made up the invitation, he said he was too busy to attend the game, anyway, then spent the day golfing with Jay Feely.

Late summer and fall of 2020 saw Trump pushing for his face to be included on Mount Rushmore, as well as catching COVID and giving it to just about everyone around him, including his wife and son. While hospitalized at Walter Reed, Trump staged a photo op to show how hard he was working . . . signing blank pieces of paper. Trump emerged from Walter Reed a few days later, looking and acting like he just left the bathroom at Studio 54. Upon returning to the White House, Trump triumphantly ripped off his mask and stomped inside. In the next 10 days, at least 3 dozen White House staffers also tested positive.

On October 16, Trump did the only good thing he’s done in four years on the job, repeatedly calling aggressive sycophant and Trump worshipper Matt Gaetz “Rick Gates” during a Florida rally. Rick Gates was a former Trump staffer convicted of interference in the 2016 Election on behalf of Russia. Of course, the rally was mostly maskless.

All of this, of course, brings us to the 2020 presidential election. On November 4, Trump demanded a recount of votes in the State of Wisconsin. When it became clear that Biden’s lead over Trump in Wisconsin was growing, Trump tweeted out “STOP THE COUNT!”

Presumably, someone had explained to Trump that he wasn’t allowed to count only the pro-Trump votes. Even so, stopping the count at that point would have handed the election to Joe Biden, as well. Math is hard.

On November 7th, we get the chef’s kiss of idiocy from the President, and we’ll just leave it here in all its glory:

Since Trump’s hopes of overturning the election dissolved like Rudy’s hair dye, he’s spent a lot of time on Twitter, trying to convince people that he’s the real winner and that he’s responsible for the only good thing that happened in 2020, the COVID vaccine:

At this point, it’s all pretty much background noise. America sighs and rolls its collective eyes while waiting for Trump to vacate the Oval Office like we wait for our craziest relatives to leave after the holidays. Only surprise - he says he might not go!

Of course, we’ve barely scratched the surface of Trump’s most idiotic hits. Cataloguing them all could take months, even years. But if you take one thing away from this piece, let it be these three things: 1) All fascists are evil; 2) Not all evil fascists are also mind-numbingly stupid; and 3) never has the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song been so well-used so often.

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1. Kelly Loeffler, somehow worse than Trump

1. Kelly Loeffler, somehow worse than Trump

Illustration for article titled Idiot of the Year: All the worst from a 2020 to forget
Illustration: Getty Images

Don’t take our word for it. Kelly Loeffler’s own campaign would have you believe she’s an idiot.

Earlier this month, the unelected Georgia senator, in the midst of a hotly contested runoff for control of the U.S. Senate, posed for a selfie with well-known white supremacist Chester Doles. The campaign took steps to distance itself from the man who spent decades in the KKK and proclaimed himself a neo-Nazi.

“Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for,” Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s campaign spokesman, told the Journal-Constitution.

There are a lot of problems with this statement, chiefly the fact that she was at a rally for QAnon nutter and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene where Doles was escorted out. A spokesman for Loeffler’s opponent, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pointed this out.

“While Kelly Loeffler runs a campaign based on dividing and misleading Georgians, she is once again trying to distance herself from someone who is a known white supremacist and former KKK leader who nearly beat a Black man to death,” campaign spokesman Michael Brewer said to the Washington Post. “There’s no acceptable explanation for it happening once, let alone a second time.”

Of course it’s bad enough that Loeffler endorsed Greene, as we wrote in October:

Greene has a remarkable resume of racism, calling George Soros (who is Jewish) a Nazi, describing Black people as being held in slavery by the Democratic Party, saying she would be proud to see Confederate monuments if she were Black (“I’d say, ‘Look how far I have come in this country.’”)

There’s also the fact that, while Loeffler may or may or may not know who Doles is, he certainly knows who she is. And if you’re a bona fide white supremacist like Doles, you’d certainly like the cut of her jib.

We’re at a point in American politics where we’ve gone beyond dog whistles and “very fine people on both sides.” Soon-to-be-former President Trump told the “Proud Boys — stand back and stand by.”

To recap Loeffler’s white supremacist credentials, as we’ve done time and time again:

As co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, she said she adamantly opposed the Black Lives Matter movement, which drew the ire of the WNBA, which led the players to supporting Raphael Warnock.

Loeffler is proudly a Second Amendment enthusiast, unless it’s about legally armed Black people, which she referred to as “mob rule.”

In August we wrote about how Loeffler appeared on OANN to talk about how the “woke mob” was trying to cancel her when she appeared with Jack Posobiec, an alt-right white supremacist and conspiracy theorist who is buddies with notorious racist dweeb Richard Spencer. As we wrote then, Posobiec is someone “you know from seeing his tweets get dunked on by all of Twitter,” and that’s still true.

We mentioned her ties to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom Chester Doles is also a fan of, because she’s an unabashed racist who said Black people should be proud of Confederate statues.

Did we mention that Loeffler made millions selling stocks after being briefed on the threat of coronavirus?

Here’s the most delicious part: Loeffler, once considered a moderate Republican, swung so hard to the right to appeal to racists and conspiracy theorists in the Trump base… but the Trumpers still call her a “traitor.” There are even calls by the right to boycott the runoff elections for the two Georgia seats held by Loeffler and David Perdue that will determine the fate of the Senate, and, by proxy, the country’s future.

That’s what you get when you associate with conspiracy theorist nutjobs and lunatics. That’s why you’re our No. 1 IDIOT OF THE YEAR, Kelly Loeffler.

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