IDIOT OF THE YEAR: The countdown begins as we look back ruefully on 2022

IDIOT OF THE YEAR: The countdown begins as we look back ruefully on 2022

Deadspin’s annual extravaganza returns, this time with twice the pettiness

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Dearest reader! We meet again. It is that time of the year again… uh, namely, the end of the year, when we at Deadspin are proud to present our globally acclaimed celebration of stupidity, IDIOT OF THE YEAR! We’ll be with you over the next few weeks as we count down the haughtiest, most hypocritical, and just plain dumbest people, places, and things from the year that was but perhaps should not have been. Hot damn!

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50. Golfweek Magazine

50. Golfweek Magazine

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It’s always good to read the room before popping off a witty remark, especially when that snarky comment is headed out to the public. Golfweek Magazine made this mistake with a Tweet in the summer where they made light of children surviving cancer. For the record… that’s always a bad idea. The fact someone thought this was a good idea is astonishing, but even more mind-boggling is that it actually got posted.

This was beyond idiocy, crossing over to downright trashy. It isn’t necessary to post everything you’re thinking. Most times, you should stop and think about it first, especially if you’re tweeting on behalf of a company. If you ever have to stop and think about something you’re posting on social media, especially if you work in the public eye, it’s probably not worth the trouble.

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49. Wimbledon All-England Club

49. Wimbledon All-England Club

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Earlier this year the folks who host Wimbledon decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players because of their countries’ ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as if these teenage and 20-something tennis pros were warmongering members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Except here’s the kicker: Some of those banned players had even spoken out publicly against Vladimir Putin, the Russian tyrant who is, at heart, a little insecure bully. That’s a bold move in Russia, where freedom of speech is little more than a punchline.

Anyway, if global sporting events banned players from all nations based on the actions of their respective heads of state, then American athletes would have a long tradition of not being invited to play in tournaments… what with the decades-long military occupations and never-ending drone strikes. But nobody wants to say that part out loud.

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48. Zach Wilson

48. Zach Wilson

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After sucking it up against the New England Patriots in a 10-3 loss, the second-year signal-caller — who was 9-of-22 for 77 yards — told reporters, “no, no” when asked if he let his defense down.

Gang Green head coach Robert Saleh proceeded to bench the Mormon MILF hunter, who was pouting like Anakin Skywalker while Mike F’n White threw for over 300 yards against the Chicago Bears. Wilson has since returned to the starting spot after an injury thwarted White’s run, and he continues to look like nothing special.

And the pouting! Oh, the pouting. He’s mostly here because of the pouting.

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47. ESPN

47. ESPN

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The Little League World Series should be fun the whole family can watch. After all, it’s abbreviated baseball games with pre-teens playing on the diamond in front of the world. It should be a harmless, whimsical event. So as ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball televised a July edition from Williamsport, Pa., it should’ve been a chance for those who dream of playing in Major League Baseball to watch current big-leaguers do their thing. That happened, but not without ESPN showing kids with cotton in their hair, including a Black pre-teen.

For about 30 seconds, ESPN showed the team from Davenport, Iowa. After receiving stuffed animals as gifts, they acted like 12- and 13-year-olds, finding the stuffing inside the gifts. The white players decided to stick cotton on the head of a Black teammate. ESPN’s Karl Ravech offered this excuse for the network’s curious camera cut: “That’s just little leaguers being little leaguers right there.” ESPN clearly didn’t mind displaying the awful act, even if kids not yet of high school age were doing it. The cameras stayed on the cotton incident through Ravech’s entire promo for the next week’s Braves-Cardinals broadcast.

While ESPN’s weak statement mentions how there was no ill intent in these actions, ESPN having the camera fixated on the event and not realizing the actions being shown on their network is a huge problem. Hiding behind the “no-ill-intent” statement is even worse. It’s a simple mistake turned into an avoidable calamity.

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46. Bill Belichick

46. Bill Belichick

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Patriots fans should be worried about the company Bill Belichick keeps. Not only did he drop by Mar-a-Lago to take in the Super Bowl with Donny T and the fam, but he’s also got a couple Fredos on staff, and Luca Brasi calling the offense.

#FreeTheMacChurianCandidate #FireMattPatricia #AndJoeJudge

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45. Andrew Wiggins

45. Andrew Wiggins

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Andrew Wiggins is one of many anti-vaxxers on this list. He’s still mad about getting the vaccine even though it enabled him to have a career year, win an NBA championship, and sign a $109 million contract extension. He hasn’t mutated. The government isn’t tracking him. He’s just a doofus with a ring.

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44. Darren Rovell

44. Darren Rovell

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Ah, yes, Martin Luther King Jr. aficionado Darren Rovell.

Rovell has Black friends, he’d like you to know!

Most people brag about signed boxing gloves, basketball cards, a piece of playing surface from The Immaculate Reception, or maybe even signed sheet music from Beethoven. It’s always useful to have nice stuff around to make you look cool when you invite people over to your house who you really don’t like.

But Rovell got called a racist on Twitter and decided to use that moment to brag about his extensive collection of MLK memorabilia. One item he spotlighted was the jail log King signed in Birmingham — when he was arrested for being Black and demanding his rights — which Rovell purchased from the family of the jail warden at the time.

Throw in some unnecessary and uncalled-for criticism of a commercial encouraging more equitable coverage of women’s sports, this was a banner year for Rovell.

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43. Dana White

43. Dana White

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Dana White is here for being himself. Whether he’s dodging questions about his fighters’ pay or becoming irritated because someone questioned the method behind his madness, White has been a jerk for years. Early in 2022, it was announced that UFC and ESPN were hiking the price of their pay-per-view events from $59.99 to $74.99. Unsurprisingly, the guys and girls responsible for raking in all that extra green still haven’t seen significant hikes in their earnings. And the consumers haven’t seen 25 percent more value in those broadcasts.

White may as well be related to Vince McMahon in the way he screws over talent time and time again. Short of fighting tigers in the Colosseum, mixed martial arts is one of the most brutal ways to make a living. Like most professional sports, careers are short, and the sport is as dangerous as it comes. Of course, it’s also a business, but refusing to pay these fighters what they’re worth is inhumane. No wonder so many mixed martial artists are opting for boxing and making more money in one or two fights — including celebrity exhibitions — than they made in their UFC tenure.

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42. Jim Harbaugh

42. Jim Harbaugh

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Following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, Jim Harbaugh became one of the few coaches to speak up on abortion. Except he’s a pro-life wacko with an insane “solution” for unplanned pregnancies.

In an interview with ESPN explaining his outspoken stance, Harbaugh revealed that his solution was to personally adopt every baby:

“I’ve told [pregnant women] the same thing I tell my kids, boys, the girls, same thing I tell our players, our staff members. I encourage them if they have a pregnancy that wasn’t planned, to go through with it, go through with it. Let that unborn child be born, and if at that time, you don’t feel like you can care for it, you don’t have the means or the wherewithal, then Sarah and I will take that baby.”

Doesn’t really seem like it’ll work on a national scale, but nothing about Harbaugh’s philosophy seems coherent.

When Harbaugh starts flapping his gums about complex social issues, he’s out of his depth, and the cringe bursts through his pores. His thoughts on abortion were no exception.

On its face, Harbaugh’s offer to adopt his player’s children is an empty gesture to alleviate the backlash to his remarks. But there are obvious logical flaws in this one-dimensional solution to the abortion debate. Harbaugh can’t possibly think that the only women seeking abortions are dating Michigan football players or otherwise know him personally, right?

The U.S. foster care system is overburdened, but thank goodness we have Harbaugh here to the rescue. Realistically, Harbaugh is all talk. He’s not even adopting children that are already matriculating through the foster care system.

On a human level, Harbaugh and his pro-life ilk ignore the risk to mothers or the psychological effect carrying a rapist’s child can have on women. Or the women who seek abortions for medical reasons. There’s been no word on whether Jim’s wife has OK’d this strategy, but I suspect he didn’t consult his wife before making this proclamation. On the other hand, he probably has no regard for her opinion either.

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41. Emmanuel Acho

41. Emmanuel Acho

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One of the key indicators of an idiot is their stubbornness, the inability to realize you were wrong about one thing or another and move on. For most of the 2022 NFL season, Emmanuel Acho was stubborn as a mule who still insists the Star Wars sequel trilogy wasn’t a blatant cash grab designed to invoke nostalgia without actually adding anything necessary to the Skywalker plot as a whole. Acho’s victim? Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert.

Thankfully, all the non-blind people of the NFL world had Herbert’s back anytime Acho stepped up to disparage all of his accomplishments, blame the Chargers’ failures to meet expectations on Herbert rather than the porous defense or incapable head coach, or claim Herbert wasn’t even in the same stratosphere as someone like Tua Tagovailoa.

Despite Herbert performing incredibly well with severe losses on his offensive line and receiving corps throughout most of 2022, Acho insisted that Herbert was only good for about one or two throws a night. He claimed if people actually watched Chargers’ games, they’d see that Herbert plays mostly incompetently only to garner trust from everyone again after making one play. Gee, I guess Herbert has other incredible quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes fooled, huh? I guess he’s also fooled several NFL coaches and executives who ranked Herbert as the fifth-best quarterback in the NFL heading into the season. Man, everybody really fell for Herbert’s devious tricks, except Acho. He saw right through Herbert’s electric arm and focused solely on the negative aspects of his game, just as every great analyst does.

Thankfully, after Herbert took down Acho’s beloved Dolphins in Week 14, Acho finally changed his tune, offering an apology to Herbert and Chargers’ fans alike. He claimed he wouldn’t speak on the Herbert-Tua debate for the rest of the season.

However, Acho couldn’t help but get the last word during his apology, claiming he wouldn’t call Herbert a social media quarterback...until Week 18 when the Chargers face the Broncos in what will likely be a must-win game. Essentially, Acho hasn’t let go of his claim that Herbert is a “social media QB” and offered a fake apology to hold fans over until Herbert loses his next crucial game. Then, Acho will pop back up and say “See! I told you all! Look how smart I am.” However, he’s also playing the side of “Hey, I apologized. I was wrong,” so that if Herbert does end up doing well and subverting his expectations, he can’t take any heat.

We see through you, Mr. Acho. Don’t think you can pull a fast one on us, and should Herbert lead his team to the playoffs, you deserve all the backlash from the Chargers’ social media that comes your way.

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