Happy new year and welcome to the grand finale of Deadspin’s IDIOT OF THE YEAR festivities — here’s hoping 2023 will be better. It probably won’t.
50. Golfweek Magazine
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.
49. Wimbledon All-England Club
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.
48. Zach Wilson
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.
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.
46. Bill Belichick
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
45. Andrew Wiggins
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.
44. Darren Rovell
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.
43. Dana White
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.
42. Jim Harbaugh
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.
41. Emmanuel Acho
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.
40. Brian Urlacher
What a waste of such a successful hair regrowth story.
It might be time to change some of those Brian Urlacher highway billboards by O’Hare Airport that greets visitors when they arrive in Chicago. That lettuce is sitting on top of a lifesize idiot burger.
Urlacher spends New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago, promotes election-denying propaganda, and smiles when talking about undocumented immigrants being shipped to the East Coast in a stupid and cruel publicity stunt. That was all on Jay Cutler’s podcast. On Bussin’ with the Boys he claimed that some former players are faking CTE.
Those billboards would be much better served telling people the location of the closest Portillos.
39. Scott Frost
The savior of Nebraska football didn’t make it to Week 4 of his fifth season, getting unceremoniously dropped after losing — and giving up a bazillion points and yards — to a Georgia Southern team that finished 6-6. There are a number of dumb things that he did during his tenure at Lincoln, but bragging about his players puking an unhealthy amount during fall camp before getting beat in the fourth quarter by Northwestern for their only win of the year is among the dumbest.
38. Tampa Bay Rays
It’s a wonder how one of the smartest organizations in all of professional sports could employ some of the most stone-headed, ignorant players. Remember this...
How hard is it to wear something? Even if you don’t necessarily want to wear it, it’s not difficult to put on a patch. Most people don’t want to wear slacks everyday, but damn, business casual happens to be the dress code, just like how baseball players have to wear the same uniform.
Even stupider on these players’ parts is how they outed themselves to the rest of the team. According to reports, there were only five players who refused to wear the patches, and those five must have stuck out like a sore thumb to everyone else in the locker room afterward. Might as well pin a badge to your shirt that reads “I’m a bigot.”
I mean, think about it. More than likely, a good proportion of your team’s fans are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and these players were essentially saying, we don’t value your life. We all understand that most athletes have a disconnect from their fans. They don’t value us the same way we value them, but for them to come forward and essentially say “Yeah, we don’t value anything you stand for,” especially when what they stand for is love for all people... that’s harsh, cruel, and above all else, stupid. That’s why they’re on this list.
37. Marcus Stokes
Do you know how easy it is for white people to not say the N-word? Pretty damn easy. Most of them go their entire lives without saying it. It’s easy to acknowledge the rule — “Don’t say it under any circumstances” — given its history rooted in hate. Well, former Florida commit Marcus Stokes couldn’t follow that simple rule.
This was so stupid that Marcus himself tried to delete the evidence as soon as it became public. He knew how stupid it was and immediately tried backtracking as soon as everyone knew what a scumbag he really is. Florida rescinded his scholarship, which thankfully, Stokes understood. While Stokes did eventually come forward, taking accountability for his actions via Twitter, “I fully accept the consequences for my actions and I respect the University of Florida’s decision to withdraw my scholarship offer to play football,” we all know he did so not because he was sorry for his actions, but rather because he was sorry he got caught.
It doesn’t matter if your favorite song’s lyrics have that word. You just don’t say it. Never. You’d think it’d be the easiest rule to follow given how easily such an action can destroy people’s careers, but Stokes just had to get that awesome Snapchat off didn’t he? Now, look at him. He’s got nobody to blame but himself.
36. Jack Del Rio
Jack Del Rio. What a dumbass. The defensive coordinator for the NFL team in our nation’s capital called the Jan. 6 insurrection “a dustup” and doubled down on it, asking America what’s so different between riots over race relations and a bunch of racist assholes invading Washington to try to overturn the election. He got fined and deleted his Twitter (before it was cool), but can still be found in burgundy and gold calling the Commanders’ defense.
35. Bob Baffert
There’s not much to be said about Bob Baffert, trainer of the finest ponies modern science can construct. Bob got himself suspended for a season for one too many failed drug tests (not him, the horses) and now spends his free time threatening news outlets for including him in justifiable “best cheater” rankings.
34. Fernando Tatís Jr.
We’ve all wanted to gain a competitive edge before, whether it be pulling your phone out for a difficult question at trivia night or finding the answers to an upcoming test on Quizlet. However, when oodles of cash start getting involved, providing yourself with an unfair advantage isn’t just dishonest; it’s egotistical, believing you can get away with cheating and that other people don’t deserve the same help that you do. After all, the way you play is what determines your paycheck and if you doing well means others do poorly, that’s going to affect their paychecks as well.
Fernando Tatís Jr. could’ve earned himself a spot on this list solely for using PEDs, but what guaranteed his spot on this list was the excuse he offered for his behavior.
Ringworm medication? My word, man. Pull yourself together!
Tatís claims that he took the substance not knowing it had been banned by MLB. Yeah, right. These are professional athletes. The Padres were in the middle of a playoff run and were looking to dethrone the Dodgers in the NL West. Tatís earns millions of dollars to be good at baseball. If there was any chance that the substance could’ve been illegal in MLB, Tatís would’ve known. His agent, trainers, or closest members of the Padres’ staff would’ve told him right then and there that he couldn’t use that substance. Tatís did anyway. He knew what he was doing. Three Major Leaguers have been suspended for this substance since 2012. There isn’t a scenario where Tatís doesn’t know exactly what he’s getting into.
33. Yankee Fans
While fans of the Bronx Bombers get lots of hate (they hate ‘em cuz they ain’t ‘em, perhaps?) some of it was deserved when it came to fans booing Arson… er, Aaron Judge. Yes, he had horrible 2022 postseason numbers, but without his MVP season, the Yanks likely miss the cut. But outside of Harrison Bader’s homers, there weren’t too many reasons to cheer during the ALCS. Judge needed to remain in the Bronx, even if Hal had to overpay.
32. Tommy Tuberville
Former Auburn head football coach and current GOP Senator Tommy Tuberville likes what Black people can do for him. It doesn’t mean that he actually likes them. That’s apparent by him being a Republican in the south, and some comments he made earlier this year.
“They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that! Bullshit,” he said.
The “they” that Tuberville is talking about is Black people. Besides, Black folks are the only ones that still haven’t received any kind of reparations for building this entire country… for free.
Just a few years ago, Tuberville was making millions off a sport in which a whole bunch of unpaid Black teenagers put their brains and bodies at harm each week to entertain the masses. And people wonder how he got elected.
31. Anonymous Lamar Jackson-Hating Defensive Coordinator
There’s a special kind of strength in saying the quiet parts of the NFL’s racism out loud through anonymous statements. That unique “strength” is a weakness of the league and numerous of its parts. It’s all to stir up trouble from keyboard warriors. Typically it’s nothing of substance but ignoring a story from The Athletic’s Mike Sando ranking the NFL’s quarterbacks with evaluators moving the goalposts based on race would be negligent.
The problem is this story devolves into chaos by factoring in the opinions of 50 people. The secret identities of this group include six general managers, eight head coaches, 10 talent evaluators, 12 coordinators, six quarterback coaches, and seven executives. Back in July, that group ranked Aaron Rodgers as the NFL’s best quarterback, which looks like a great choice now. Sandwiching Patrick Mahomes at No. 2 is Tom Brady in the bronze-medal spot, which is also shit-tastic. Now let’s dive into the real awful takes by that group: Lamar Jackson at No. 10 and Kyler Murray three spots behind.
“If he has to pass to win the game, they ain’t winning the game,” a defensive coordinator said, stupidly of Jackson. Here’s the skinny on Murray: “I think he is a wide receiver mentality playing quarterback,” an evaluator somehow surmised of Murray. “… Things have to be a certain type of way for him to have success. Being more of a loner or introvert at that position is tough.” Wow. What horrible, misguided takes. The identities of those who spoke about Jackson and Murray aren’t clear, but it rings like a certain guy who likened the Capitol insurrection to a “dustup” and actually hasn’t actually played against them that much.
30. The Hue Jackson Foundation
Hue Jackson is a terrible NFL head coach. In 2022, we found out why. It’s because he’s a horrible decision-maker. After trying to hire the disgraced Art Briles to his coaching staff at Grambling State University, Jackson found out why real journalists matter so much.
For some reason, Jackson thought it would be smart to put out a statement through his foundation in defense of Briles. What he didn’t expect is that it would lead to ESPN’s Dan Murphy uncovering a potential tax evasion scheme.
By opening his mouth, Jackson dry-snitched on himself when all he had to do was not say anything at all. Or better yet, not try to hire a coach that turned a blind eye when his football program was sexually harassing and assaulting countless college students.
29. Denver Broncos
Defend the Russell Wilson trade all you want, but there is zero argument for hiring Nathaniel “Check out my I’ve-given-up goatee” Hackett. Who knows why franchises have to immediately give massive contracts to big-name quarterbacks that they acquire — they just do, and now Broncos’ new ownership is basically kneecapped for three years by the extension and the draft picks they gave up to get Wilson.
28. Anthony Edwards
There’s no doubt that Anthony Edwards represents the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In just a couple of years, he’s become the most impactful player on the T-Wolves’ roster, even when Karl-Anthony Towns is on the floor. It’s just too bad his social tolerance level isn’t equal to his basketball IQ.
Edwards posted a video using homophobic slurs aimed at a group of men whom he assumed were gay. As someone who’s likely been judged for who he is on the outside at some point, you’d hope there’d be a certain amount of empathy from Edwards. Whether the men are gay or straight, it doesn’t matter. For him to ridicule them in this manner was uncalled for and showed his considerable level of immaturity. Edwards apologized later and said he’s “working to be better.” Hopefully, those words are being put into action.
27. Jonathan Allen
In February, Commanders defensive lineman Jonathan Allen decided to have a question-and-answer session with his then-67,900 Twitter followers. He received the lay-up question: “You can have dinner with three people. Dead or alive. Who are you inviting?” Allen’s first of the trio of responses is a great one: “My grandad.” Perfect answer. His second choice is at the opposite end of that spectrum: “Hitler.” One of the worst people to ever live, who was at the helm of Nazi Germany during World War II, and whose harm is irreparable on this planet. Let’s disregard Allen’s third choice of Michael Jackson, spelling the King of Pop’s name wrong in his tweet.
Allen’s reasoning for wanting to swap military tactics with Hitler due to an incorrect label as a “military genius” is disgusting. He was fooled into thinking the D-Day invasion would take place from France’s Pas de Calais region, about 150 miles northeast of Normandy. He also failed to properly plan Operation “Barbarossa” in 1941, considered one of the largest military operations of modern warfare, per the Holocaust Museum.
Later that day, Allen did damage control, tweeting Hitler was “one (of), if not the most, evil persons to have ever lived.” Of course he was, but you don’t get to post both sentiments. Allen then finally came to the right conclusion and fully apologized. Doesn’t mean what you said was completely avoidable and dumb.
26. Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball’s idiocy is best counted up not by ways in which they are idiots, but by ways in which they are not. Trust me, that would save you a lot of time and effort.
Do you know how far Major League Baseball has fallen as a credible sports organization? Just a few weeks ago, a report came out offering evidence that MLB had been using different types of balls throughout the season to promote certain narratives. Heavier balls that would fly further off the bat were often used in Yankees games so that Aaron Judge would have an easier time chasing the American League home run crown. Dead balls were used more often in games that were supposed to promote stellar pitching matchups. If this type of information came out about any other league, the public would be up in arms, demanding an explanation, but NOBODY cares! Major League Baseball, year after year, time after time, has been caught in scandal after scandal, offers some half-witted apology, and then continues hoping everything gets swept under the rug. It has become exhausting and not even the diehard baseball fans can defend the league much longer.
For a league starved of media attention, and looking to build a bigger audience, the constant destruction of the integrity of the sport turns a lot of people off. What should’ve been a year of celebration where we saw Judge make history, Pujols join the 700-home run club, and the Seattle Mariners break a playoff drought so long it would’ve made the Irish Potato Famine wince, was once again marred by MLB’s endless cycle of altering the sport, hoping no one finds out, getting caught, and moving on to their next scheme. It’s shameless.
25. Jim Jordan
Jim Jordan is an unofficial lieutenant of the National Sleazebag Society. He’s a mouthpiece who appeals to the dregs of different swaths of society, which also makes him one of the most versatile dirtbags in the country. From his Jan. 6 involvement to his stint as a human stain on the House floor and his past life as an assistant wrestling coach who allegedly ignored sexual abuse, Jordan has touched every corner of American society with his stercoraceous touch.
In June, Jordan had no patience for the investigation into a billion-dollar corporation’s workplace mistreatment of women. You’d think he’d try to change the narrative on him given the allegations he ignored sexual abuse at Ohio State — he’s denied accusations of turning a blind eye to it — but that would probably hurt his brand. When the NFL was subpoenaed to discuss the sexual misconduct permeating throughout one of its franchises, Jordan used the opportunity to harp on Barstool founder Dave Portnoy being banned from NFL games, asked Goodell’s opinion on the NFL’s fine of Jack del Rio for referring to the insurrection Jordan helped spur, and calling the Commanders by their former name to troll Native Americans.
Jordan’s depravity is his defining trait and he lacks redeeming qualities to counter that character defect. Aside from his theatrics being the latest chapter in his clownish political career, he’s also a microcosm of all that that sane voters despise most about politicians who grandstand for headlines, but rarely contribute much to legislation that can actually help constituents. A 2021 study by the Center of Effective Lawmaking rated him the 202nd-most effective Republican in the House out of 205 examined. It’s a travesty that Jordan’s gained the following he has because his idiocy-to-effectiveness ratio isn’t worth our attention or energy.
24. Adam Schefter
The curtain has gradually been pulled back on how the insiders get their information in the last two seasons. No one has been hurt by it more than Adam Schefter. Once “Mr. Editor” leaked, it was all downhill from there.
This year, a Washington Post profile revealed that Schefter gives over 150 gifts to (mostly) sources during the holidays. So if you can be the first to tell Schefter that Baker Mayfield was released, or that the independent study clause was removed from Kyler Murray’s contract, a delicious box of chocolates or delightful scotch may come your way this month. Your information is Schefter’s tax write-off.
Also, the way that he has delivered his reporting on Deshaun Watson this year has been cringe, at best. There was March when Watson wasn’t indicted and he tweeted out that Deshaun Watson welcomed a police investigation, “because he knew the truth would come out.” Not the best wording in a country that doesn’t handle these cases well. Then when Watson got reinstated earlier this month, Schefter’s report came off almost as complimentary of him. He wrote that his sources said Watson was showing “signs of progress” but offered no specifics.
23. Cale Gundy
Cale Gundy’s decades-long run as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State came to an end because he thought the N-word was a plaything. Well, he played that idiot game and he’s still winning idiot prizes. The equal exchange resulted in him losing the job he’s held for 20 years because he felt comfortable spraying the N-Word during a team meeting. Gundy’s firing was the cap on a 23-year run on Oklahoma’s staff that began when he returned to Bob Stoops’ inaugural staff in 1999.
Initially, Gundy’s exclamation was that he was having a Ron Burgundy moment and blamed an iPad, which had the N-Word written on it. Uncontrollably reading slurs off a screen is toddlers’ minds. In head coach Brent Venables’ statement about Gundy’s resignation, he noted that Gundy uttered the phrase several times not once.
There’s no context given, but what more is needed? Once may be a mistake, and twice is someone testing how much he could get away with it. Reportedly, Gundy said the N-word repeatedly, which is an unnecessarily elaborate way to sabotage your career. His brother is Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, so he may not be out of work for too long, but even OAN fanboy Mike would have to think twice.
22. CM Punk
Who wants to go from the literal top guy in a professional wrestling promotion to hated and unemployed in one night? CM Punk! The “voice of the voiceless” turned into the voice of hatred and hollow men everywhere after winning the All Elite Wrestling championship in early September. Nothing he did in the match caused much controversy. It’s the media scrum afterward, which AEW doesn’t completely script, where Punk got himself and many others in a lot of trouble.
Punk decided it was time to air all of his dirty laundry with every member of the AEW locker room he didn’t like. Maybe he felt it was his right as a pro wrestling veteran, or maybe he was pissed off. It doesn’t matter what Punk was thinking, because he came off as an unprofessional, whiny asshole. He called out former friend Colt Cabana, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and others in a tirade that warranted a response. Most didn’t think it would happen quickly and as ferociously as it did.
The details of what occurred backstage have never been confirmed by the company, but some sort of a backstage brawl took place which led to the firing of company agent Ace Steel, a friend of Punk’s who allegedly bit Omega during the fracas. Punk was immediately stripped of the AEW title and hasn’t been seen on television since. His status with the company is unclear with many believing Punk’s days in AEW are done due to burning too many bridges in the locker room. It would be a shame, but Punk’s return to wrestling after a seven-year hiatus ended by his own mind-numbing actions.
21. Greg Norman
The Shark spent his 2022 as a huckster for the Saudi (LIV) Golf League. He’s been in lawsuits, disputes, headlines, and Idiot of the Month lists. His most profound (not sure if that’s the right word) moment was when he tried to downplay the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying, and this is a real quote, “Look, we’ve all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.”
Uhh, what? Go choke on it, Greg. Not a golf tournament, your nine iron.
20. Jerry Jones
Jones has had a grimy year. You can practically see the gunk that’s accumulated around his already putrid reputation. He’s been sued by a woman claiming to be his biological daughter — though the suit was dropped and Jones denied being her father, though paid her $375K — he’s still standing up for Dan Snyder, and a photo of him standing amid a sea of white students accosting black classmates desegregating North Little Rock High School in 1957 demonstrated the origins of his general scumminess.
Jones barely responded to the backlash over the photo or explained how he’s changed, but was more eager to lament the loss of LeBron James as a Cowboy fan. During a guest appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones beamed over how much money James has made because he equates net worth to a person’s total worth. Green is the color that Jones respects. That’s as far as his concerns about black bodies go. The Cowboys are now an extension of Jones’ soul. There is nothing else there, but a barren, vacuous husk of a man.
He’s the Emperor Palpatine of the NFL. Everything he touches is corrupted. He’s maximized his personal earning potential, but also compromised his reputation and diminished his already shrinking legacy.
19. Josh Donaldson
In no way is it ever appropriate for a white person to call a Black person “Jackie,” or any other name of a civil rights pioneer in jest. To do so is not funny, and it shows a complete disregard for the hell that those people put up with to receive something that they never should have been denied in the first place.
The civil rights struggle is nothing to make wisecracks about, especially when it’s still going on and the results are trending in the wrong direction. It doesn’t matter what Tim Anderson’s initial reaction was, Josh Donaldson should’ve known better than to joke like that. There’s a reason No. 42 is retired all across MLB. Jackie Robinson is a name to be revered, not to be used to mock a Black colleague.
Also, when you apologize, get it right the first time.
18. Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic’s anti-vax stance was one of the most vacuous sociopolitical activists stands in history. Djokovic didn’t just skip the 2022 Australian Open and 2022 U.S. Open because he was too silly to listen to healthcare professionals, he made a scene of his apathy for a once-in-a-generation public health crisis.
He filed an appeal to gain access to Australia for the Open, triggering a dramatic international ordeal that reeled in the nation’s Prime Minister. All of this could have been prevented by a jab that 99 percent of his competitors had undertaken. Meanwhile, his wife was blaming the pandemic on 5G networks. He was detained while Australia reviewed his exemption request prior to the Australian Open and was held in a hotel room during the review. Djokovic thought he was Ali when in reality, he was the antithesis. His peers didn’t come to his aid because they didn’t respect his idiocy. Building a snowman in the spring would have been a worthier cause that resonated longer.
Djokovic’s father later used a Jesus allegory to paint his son as the victim. Between that and his wife’s Covid-5G theories, Djokovic was destined to become an unserious person during a deadly serious time. He milked every ounce of drama he could out of a process every single one of his competitors somehow avoided. In the process, he fell behind Rafael Nadal in the career Grand Slams record chase. At least the record books will admonish him for his insipid war on public health.
17. Kim Mulkey
Kim Mulkey ain’t shit.
Brittney Griner’s coach at Baylor — now at LSU— has a long history of putting her foot in her mouth, and usually to the detriment of women.
The entire time Griner was locked away in Russia, Mulkey didn’t say a word for her former player who helped her win a national championship after an undefeated 40-0 season. And when she was asked why she hadn’t spoken up, she said, “and you won’t [hear her speak up.]”
When Griner was finally freed after the United States engaged in a prisoner exchange with Russia for arms dealer Viktor Bout, Mulkey finally said something.
“God is good. Prayers are powerful,” she told ESPN. “Brittney is on her way home where she belongs. Our prayers remain with her and her family as they recover and heal together.”
Those 29 words are all she could muster. No parent should ever let their daughter play for her again.
16. Gil Brandt
That old saying, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is always good advice to live by, especially if the deceased is a 24-year-old who died in a tragic accident.
Gil Brandt decided that would be the proper time to castigate Dwayne Haskins following his death in April. On his radio program, Brandt said that Haskins was “living to be dead, so to speak.” He also took some time to criticize Haskins for leaving school early, because it’s such a terrible decision to go earn millions of dollars after throwing for 50 touchdown passes.
Brandt did apologize, but at 90 years old he should have known better. He would not appreciate someone using that type of language when discussing someone dead who he loved. A man was born, and died too young. All that needed to be expressed immediately following that was condolences.
15. Nathaniel Hackett
While Russell Wilson’s sudden decline is obviously a big part of the Denver Broncos’ struggles this season, much of the blame can be traced back to head coach Nathaniel Hackett and his boneheaded decision-making. Whether it was counting on a 64-yard field goal to win the team’s Week 1 contest against Seattle, needing Denver fans to count down the play clock for you to avoid stupid delay of game penalties, or opting for a speed option play on third and short with tight end/fullback Andrew Beck, Hackett’s buffoonery never failed to amaze fans.
It should’ve been expected given Hackett’s response to the question: “Does it feel real like you’re an actual NFL coach, or that you snuck in here?”
Yeah, he really did sneak through all the cracks, relying on Ayahuasca enthusiast Aaron Rodgers to hide his flaws as an offensive play-caller. The team didn’t use Javonte Williams enough at the start of the season, opting instead for a healthy dose of Melvin Gordon, who later got cut in exchange for old man Latavius Murray. Every wrong move Hackett could’ve made was seemingly next up on his to-do list.
The Broncos were supposed to compete for an AFC West title this year. Instead, they became one of the biggest laughingstocks of the league. They are currently projected to own a top-five pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but that pick will belong to the Seattle Seahawks. Don’t be shocked when Hackett is told to kick rocks by the Broncos’ front office following the regular season’s conclusion.
14. Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson took a hiatus from golf this year because he got caught on a hot mic while talking about his new Saudi Arabian business partners.
“They’re scary motherfuckers to get involved with. We know they killed Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”
Reshaping the PGA, or an opportunity to take the black and grow villainous facial hair? Little column A, little column B? Hey, it’s Phil’s midlife crisis. Some people buy a sports car and get divorced, and others try to upend the sport that made them famous.
13. Stephen Ross
Ross’ firing of Brian Flores exposed an actual conspiracy that wound up costing the Miami Dolphins a first-round pick in 2023. Rather than simply investing in the quarterback he already had in place, Ross went chasing after a 45-year-old Tom Brady, tried to orchestrate a retirement ruse uniting him and Sean Payton, then got exposed for tampering in a lawsuit filed by the previous coach he’d booted.
Ross also allegedly offered a six-figure bonus to Flores to lose games, which is a dismissable offense. Of course, in typical Goodell Fashion, soft Roger let Ross off scot-free. (The NFL’s investigation indicates that these claims are true.) There were whispers Ross would be voted out of ownership and forced to sell the team by his fellow owners, but that would have been a bad look to kick Ross out while Washington’s Dan Snyder is welcomed back into the fold. It was a lose-lose proposition. Just the sort of deal Ross presented Flores with before canning him after two promising seasons.
12. The Supreme Court of the United States
What does this have to do with sports? Nothing, really. But fuck these theocratic goons.
11. Urban Meyer
No one could’ve predicted how poorly Urban Meyer’s stint as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars would be. He was more than a disaster. He let his team fly ahead so he could stay behind and be caught on video with a woman that’s not his wife, didn’t know who Aaron Donald was, and got himself canned in less than a season.
Of course, his idiocy didn’t stop there as he also made an appearance at Mar-a-Lago for a Super Bowl watch party. Perhaps he was able to rekindle Fox’s admiration as he slid back into a studio chair like his hand up that 50-something’s dress (allegedly).
10. John Stockton
For a player with such a high IQ on the basketball court, John Stockton’s lack thereof when it comes to science is simply astonishing. Stockton’s public image took a hit with many in 2022 for his vaccine idiocy, especially early in the year.
After coming out as an anti-vaxxer in 2021, Stockton continued to double down, getting kicked out of a Gonzaga game for refusing to wear a mask in January. Stockton’s alma mater would go on to suspend his season tickets, essentially barring him from attending games. Like many other confused Americans, Stockton feels that his hours of internet research and “sleuthing” override actual science and trained medical professionals who have been on the frontline battling COVID-19 for nearly three years.
One of the craziest, more outlandish things to leave Stockton’s lips this year was his rant in the Spokesman-Review. During this interview, Stockton claims athletes are “dropping dead” during games due to COVID after being vaccinated.
“I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now – it’s over 100 professional athletes dead, professional athletes, the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court.”
This level of idiocy should be quarantined and kept away from the general public with its nonsensical babbling. If that wasn’t bad enough, Stockton then came to the defense of one of the Jan. 6 rioters. The NBA’s all-time assists leader typed up a letter in support of Capitol invader Janet Buhler. Of course, this fool doesn’t think the other fools did anything wrong in storming the capitol. They say God takes care of babies and fools. There weren’t babies out there as far as we know, but there’s damn sure a bunch of fools who think this behavior was acceptable.
9. Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, and he’s destined to have a bust in Canton, Ohio, as soon as he’s eligible for Hall of Fame enshrinement. There’s another HOF Rodgers is apparently looking to join much sooner, and that’s the psychedelic crackpot conspiracy theorist’s Hall of Fame.
During the offseason, Rodgers spent his time getting better acquainted with ayahuasca, a psychoactive substance containing DMT, a hallucinogenic drug. If that came out of left field, then finding out Rodgers had been dating a woman named Blu of Earth should’ve put all the puzzle pieces in place.
If A-Rod wants to “do drugs” in his free time, that’s his deal. But when you skip out on OTAs after losing your best wide receiver and playmaker in free agency, people will undoubtedly begin to talk. Aaron wanted his money, which he got, but the way he went about it was very Brett Favre-esque. Rodgers’ lack of communication with the team and his best player (Davante Adams) caused him to lose his favorite receiving target. Adams wasn’t sure how much longer the four-time MVP would be around, so he bounced for Las Vegas. Let’s call it downright selfish, like how Rodgers walked around Green Bay’s facility for nearly the entire 2021 season, having lied about being vaccinated. Oh, but wait. He was “immunized.” So, this situation with his contract and Adams shouldn’t be all that shocking.
It’s always been about Rodgers since he replaced Favre as the team’s starter. He came into the league with a chip on his shoulder and has refused to let it go, even after multiple MVP awards and a Super Bowl title. He rarely takes accountability when he screws up, and there have been plenty of those instances throughout the ‘22 season. There’s usually someone else to blame, and his finger is generally pointed in their direction. One thing he can’t blame on anyone but himself is his shitty attitude.
8. Daniel Snyder
What a surprise. The last NFL franchise to integrate — the team named after a racial slur until 2020 — is rotten. So rotten that Congress decided to dig all the way in to see just how far it spread, and found out that it is visible as soon as the skin is removed and runs all the way to the core of the noxious fruit that is the Washington Commanders.
In a 78-page report, Congress detailed the contemptible job that Daniel Snyder has done as the franchise owner, and also how the NFL did not take enough steps to thwart his evil reign. The specifics are gross, but one paragraph on the second to last page perfectly summarizes the disgusting dysfunction of the NFL in the nation’s capital:
“The results of the Committee’s investigation, as laid out in this report, are clear: sexual harassment, bullying, and other toxic conduct pervaded the workplace at the Washington Commanders and were perpetuated by a culture of fear instilled by the Team’s owner. The NFL, through the investigation conducted by Ms. Wilkinson, was aware that Mr. Snyder and other Team executives not only failed to stop this misconduct but engaged in it themselves. The League also knew that Mr. Snyder and the Commanders organization used a variety of tactics to intimidate, surveil, and pay off whistleblowers and to influence and obstruct Ms. Wilkinson’s work. Rather than seek real accountability, the NFL aligned its legal interests with Mr. Snyder’s, failed to curtail his abusive tactics, and buried the investigation’s findings.”
Snyder did what he wanted when he wanted, and showed no regard for the humanity of the organization’s female employees. This report is littered with people detailing — without anonymity — the flagrant misconduct by Snyder and others within the organization.
It’s bad enough that Snyder has mismanaged the franchise on the field. A franchise that won three Super Bowls in the 20 years prior to his purchase, has won two playoff games in the 23 years since. Much of the fanbase that used to literally shake RFK Stadium with their enthusiasm, has been drained of all of its passion by Snyder. It has been 15 years since Sean Taylor’s tragic death and the only tribute the franchise has gotten right is when the defense decided to line up with 10 players on the first play of its first game without him. Every other effort has been a disgrace.
Snyder is supposed to be selling the franchise soon. Better late than never, but it has taken far too long. It took him being pressured by the people who own the naming rights to the stadium to finally change the franchise’s racial slur nickname. Now, in 2022, we find out in a Congressional report that he has been hiring private investigators to show up at peoples’ houses to try and intimidate them so they wouldn’t speak out against him.
His lawyers, Jerry Jones, and the Republican party can scream that this investigation is a leftist smear campaign all that they want, but the Congressional committee spoke to over 150 people. The conclusion that they drew is that the reporting by the New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere had been accurate.
The workplace of the Washington NFL franchise has been toxic during Snyder’s time as owner, and not enough has been done to stop it. The NFL can shoulder some of the blame for not acting quickly, or decisively, enough to try and stop this madness, but Snyder is the main problem here.
For more than two decades, Snyder has run this franchise without much regard for decency. He should have been forced to sell his franchise years ago. The faster that he is out of sports the better, but removing him now can’t undo the damage he has done to people and also the franchise’s reputation.
7. Kanye West
As we dive deeper into the single digits of our IDIOT OF THE YEAR countdown, we’ve come to a crossroads. Overall idiocy should be a factor, but as we are ranking the biggest imbeciles in sports, Kanye West finishes at No. 7. His damage was much worse than people ranked ahead of him to society at large, but West’s impact in the sports world landed him a top-10 spot. Congrats you Hitler-loving, antisemitic idiot. You’ve done enough damage that you barely touch the sports world, yet still beat Aaron Rodgers, Novak Djokovic, and Daniel Snyder.
For those unaware, West went on an antisemitic tirade on social media that essentially ended all of his major brand deals. He doubled down on his views and descended further into madness, getting his Twitter account temporarily suspended. Thanks for letting someone with such hatred in their heart back on the platform, Elon! West went so far from reality, he appeared with Alex Jones on far-right conglomerate Infowars. Not exactly the place to find redemption sitting beside Jones, who was ordered to pay nearly $1 billion in damages for the lies he spearheaded about the Sandy Hook school shooting.
West’s lies about the Jewish people brought fringe views into the mainstream, like the text “Kanye was right about the Jews” being shown on a stadium chyron in Jacksonville after Florida played Georgia in their annual Southeastern Conference showdown. Crowds of neo-Nazis also put it on posters and were seen giving the Nazi salute on the 405 Freeway in October. West’s negligent behavior normalized hatred against the Jewish people. Accepting that awful people exist isn’t why Kanye’s actions are so despicable. It’s that he clearly doesn’t understand the harm he does.
West’s uncredited school, Donda Academy, closed momentarily because of the controversy. Donda’s basketball team had to shut down, causing both of its 5-star prospects to leave the program. Robert Dillingham, a Kentucky commit, now plays for the Overtime Elite. AJ Johnson, a Texas signee, is finishing his prep career at Southern California Academy. West had secured two high-profile clients to Donda Sports, NBA All-Star Jaylen Brown and Super Bowl champ Aaron Donald, but both split with the brand after West’s antisemitic predilections came to light.
Antonio Brown, who’s far from a moral compass, stayed on as the company’s president, which says all you need to know about both men’s ethics. A few weeks later on Saturday Night Live, Dave Chappelle incorrectly thought that West did so much damage he got Kyrie Irving in trouble. The comic is definitely wrong, but you can see the intent behind his thought process. Irving didn’t promote an antisemitic film and book until after West shared a recent bout of antisemitism.
West’s association with Donald Trump and other questionable actions caused some to look at him in two different lights. They could hate what he stands for, but still love his music. Walt Disney has been rumored to be a racist and antisemite for decades and families still consider one of his namesake theme parks one of the happiest places on Earth. After late October’s outburst and lack of ensuing apology, more have taken pause before listening to his music. Most radio stations have stopped playing his recordings entirely. And in the sports world, just like society at large, West’s reputation will likely never recover.
6. Cleveland Browns and fans
It feels like we’ve spent all year, or at least a significant portion of it, talking about how terrible Cleveland Browns fans have been. Pre their team’s signing of quarterback Deshaun Watson, we were all able to laugh at their fans as loveable, delusional losers who thought they were going to get to the top of the mountain with Baker Mayfield. They weren’t as harmless as, say, Chargers or Seahawks fans, but they weren’t going to hurl battery-laden snowballs at Santa Claus, either.
Fast forward to 2022 and an abomination of a press conference, wherein Browns owner Jimmy Haslam stated his belief that Watson was deserving of a “second chance,” even though he at that point (still?) had not taken any responsibility whatsoever for the veritable cornucopia of sexual assault allegations against him. (Here’s the part where I legally have to tell you that Watson has denied all allegations against him.) It was that day that Haslam gave his fan base free rein to embrace Watson and all the baggage that came with him, saying pretty much what everyone knew — sure, Watson was accused of some truly odious behavior. BUT he was also a star quarterback in the National Football League. There is nothing a pro athlete can’t get away with if he’s good enough.
After serving an 11-game suspension levied by the league, here’s where Browns fans stand today:
Oh, and in case you, a typical Cleveland Browns fan who does not support sexual assault in any way, are getting ready to hit “send” on that email, yelling “nOt aLL bROwNs fANs!” at us, let’s not pretend these virulent misogynist takes are a one-off:
There are plenty of fans in those pics, plenty of fans laughing, ignoring, and, most notably, not objecting to what’s going on around them. And there are lots more examples of where these came from. It seems every week more of these images pop up. Even Pittsburgh didn’t lean into Ben Roethlisberger this hard. NFL fans are known for excusing a lot of bad behavior by their teams, but “We don’t care if our QB (allegedly) sexually assaults unsuspecting women” seems like a little much, even for the NFL. But hey, keep running those “No More” commercials during the Super Bowl, Rog!
There’s plenty of blame to go around on this one: The NFL, for being afraid to suspend one of its stars for an entire season or more, Jimmy Haslam, for his naked cynicism in bringing Watson to Cleveland, and the fans, for embracing the entire circus. But the fans are the true object of the ire of the Idiots of the Year Academy, because not a single one of you has to do this. You could have, and should have pushed back against your owner. You could have refused to buy Browns merchandise. You could have, SHOULD have put management in the awkward position of having to explain to fans why they had to have an accused of sexual misconduct by more than 30 women on their team. There is literally nothing in this for you. Look:
You sold your souls for nothing.
5. Antonio Brown
You knew he was gonna make this list sooner or later. We probably don’t even have to tell you why Antonio Brown is an idiot. Just go to his Twitter page, press the follow button, and wait 15 minutes for him to do his next big dumb stunt. Why would an NFL player worth millions feel the need to sell a counterfeit watch? It baffles me.
That was undoubtedly the smallest of Brown’s idiotic behaviors though. This year, Brown continued his tirade of terribleness with a bevy of sexual misconduct allegations, all of which he denies, even when there’s video evidence. Antonio Brown got naked in a hotel pool in the United Arab Emirates, waved his bare ass in a woman’s face, stole a scarf from another pool-goer, unknowingly tried to waterboard the woman he was talking with, screamed at her as she tried to flee, and raised his schlong out of the water spouting that the woman “wanted it” as she swam away in a hurry. There is something wrong with this man, but not in an, “oh, poor him” sense, more of a “for the sake of society, please lock him up” sense. But wait! He wasn’t done!
After Tom Brady’s ugly divorce from long-time spouse Gisele Bündchen, Brown posted obviously fake nude photos of the model to Snapchat. He also implied that he was having sex with Gisele by Photoshopping his face onto Tom Brady’s body in an old picture of the now-divorced couple. Brown’s antics didn’t end there. Throughout 2022, he operated like a Billy Mays commercial, just offering us new ways to make fun of him like clockwork.
Most recently, Brown got into a standoff with police for a misdemeanor battery charge. Not even a felony, but Brown decided a standoff was necessary. According to reports, Brown got into an altercation with the mother of four of his kids. The woman claims Brown threw a shoe at her, threatened to shoot her, and then kicked her out of the house. When police arrived, Brown locked himself in his home with several guns around him. [Editor’s note: The arrest warrant was withdrawn and Brown won’t face charges.]
And, on top of all that, Brown — the president of Kanye West’s Donda Sports agency — stood by West after the rapper went full Nazi, choosing to offer West his full support and remaining in charge of the now-tarnished outfit.
Brown went from one of the most beloved players in the NFL to an absolute scumbag who nobody can get behind. He’s a terrible person who’s burned every bridge with every person who ever tried to help him. There’s no bigger sign of an idiot than that.
4. Vince McMahon
Wrestling fans never thought they’d see the day. Vince McMahon is no longer the mover and shaker of professional wrestling. The former chairman and CEO of WWE, the squared circle’s biggest promotion, was forced to resign back in July after multiple sexual misconduct allegations were made public alongside more than $12 million in hush payments. Don’t have anyone fool you, this was a resignation, not a retirement.
Parts of McMahon’s on-screen character turned out to be a projection of his real-life antics — a womanizer who believes his power and money could shield him from consequences from wrongdoing. And who can’t forget (but probably hopes to) the Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass club, where wrestlers actually had to pucker up on those wrinkly cheeks? That’s definitely the sign of a healthy individual. The accusations brought against McMahon haven’t been denied or confirmed publicly, but the former CEO’s reaction to the Wall Street Journal breaking the news might as well have been a confession. Rare on-screen appearances from the 77-year-old McMahon turned into a weekly occurrence once the hush payments became readily known. Retreating to the safe haven of WWE audiences for validation is the stroking of McMahon’s ego he needed.
Taking over WWE was Stephanie McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Vince McMahon’s married daughter and son-in-law, alongside company executive Nick Khan. Numerous changes have been made to the program since the elder McMahon’s departure. Talent released has been brought back into the fold such as Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, and Karrion Kross. The company’s shows feel less repetitive and more representative of professional wrestling as an art form, not fragments of McMahon’s imagination. The magic behind McMahon’s revolutionary and monopolizing ideas of professional wrestling became outdated in 2002, exactly two decades before he left the company.
The residual effects of McMahon’s unwillingness to change WWE’s core product led to the golden generation of independent wrestling of the late 2000s. Most of WWE’s top stars were part of that charge. Remove Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan to name a few from WWE’s product over the last few years. Things look drastically different. Now with actual competition coming from All Elite Wrestling, McMahon would’ve fallen further behind a true alternative.
A honeymoon period took place with Triple H leading WWE’s creative efforts beginning at the end of the summer. And while some of that has spoiled, it only showed the bar Triple H had to hit was the equivalent of an Olympic high-jumper needing to clear a baby gate. McMahon’s made billions from WWE and other businesses, riding off into the sunset with your lifestyle still intact is one heck of a consolation prize not available to most. And of course, it’s been recently reported that McMahon wants back into WWE, citing bad advice to resign didn’t represent his true views.
That’s not a reunion WWE or professional wrestling will want any part of. Now that the details of McMahon’s promiscuous past have come to light, having someone with his resume in sports entertainment isn’t the endorsement you would think it is. McMahon is still the majority owner of the WWE and hasn’t given up any voting power in the company, which will be tricky to navigate if WWE wanted to distance themselves from McMahon and everything he’s been accused of. Before this year, a WWE without McMahon calling the shots was unthinkable, as would him giving up his ownership title, even to family. The last 12 months proved that in professional wrestling anything can happen as it nearly rid itself of McMahon.
3. Kyrie Irving
Do you know how easy it is to say “I’m sorry!” or that you’re not antisemitic? Apparently, it was a tremendous challenge for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. Everyone’s allowed to make mistakes, but hot damn, you’re not allowed to be that negligent with a public spotlight and not face consequences. Right after Kanye West’s antisemitic patterns were easily identified in October, Irving promoted a film and book engulfed with lies and easily disproved claims about the Jewish people. After it was brought to his attention, Irving doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on his belief that he did no wrong, a thought from the former Duke star not based in reality.
Let’s set up a clear timeline for those unaware. Irving posted the falsehood-ridden project to his social media on a Friday, which was immediately condemned by Nets’ owner Joe Tsai. Plenty of outside noise called for the NBA to suspend Irving before he was able to speak on it publicly. The NBA doesn’t have a policy or precedent for suspending players for incendiary comments. In September, the league didn’t suspend Minnesota Timberwolves’ forward Anthony Edwards when he used an anti-gay slur on a video game live stream. Precedent set up individual teams to punish its players for hate speech or discrimination, like the case of former Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard, who used an antisemitic slur, also on a video game live stream. Why is Twitch a safe haven for that? Leonard was suspended by his team indefinitely first, then given a one-week ban from the NBA before being ultimately traded to Oklahoma City. He never played a game for the Thunder and was released.
Irving had multiple chances to apologize. At a Saturday postgame press conference the day after the post, which was deleted within 48 hours? Nope, and instead, he attacked the reporter who asked the question about the antisemitic film. After Irving was given another chance to speak out on the situation during a media session the following Thursday, he did a lot of talking without “I’m sorry” or “I have no antisemitic beliefs” coming out of his mouth. This was after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish, condemned his behavior and the Anti-Defamation League said they’d partner with the Nets and Irving to donate $1 million to charities that help fight antisemitism. The ADL, whose mission is to stop the mistreatment of Jewish people and provide equal treatment for all, found 2,717 antisemitism events in 2021, a 34 percent increase from 2020. That averages to more than seven such incidents per day. Multiple NBA figureheads and media personalities called for his suspension after Saturday’s incident. After Thursday’s unquestionable signs of no regret, Tsai had no choice. And a long suspension was doled out until Irving proved he had learned from why his actions were so hurtful to the Jewish people and others.
Irving did “apologize” the night he was suspended by the Nets, but the sincerity of it still is questionable coming only after his paycheck was taken away for weeks. If someone is forced to apologize, are they truly sorry? I can’t say definitively evidenced by his misspelling of antisemitism in his post-suspension attempt at damage control. Not acknowledging a huge platform you have because you’re famous is downright negligent. Don’t believe me when it comes to the Jewish people? Then explain to me the credible broad threat to New Jersey synagogues reported on the day Irving’s suspension began by the Newark chapter of the FBI.
Irving’s laziness surrounding the coronavirus vaccine didn’t land him in hot water, but it did make him look like an idiot. Combined with his social-media post making the antisemitic book and film skyrocket up Amazon’s bestseller lists for weeks, and then denying you were involved, is beyond idiotic, when the receipts are easily available public information. Let’s hope no one in the NBA relapses and influences more hate against the Jewish people.
2. Brett Favre
If there were any justice in the world, NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre would have been canceled long ago, after two massage therapists for the NY Jets sued him back in 2011, claiming they lost their jobs as a result of a crude text message Favre sent to one of the women. Favre denied the allegations and the lawsuit was eventually settled. But it sounds awfully familiar to a text Favre allegedly sent to another unsuspecting Jets’ employee. The one everyone knows about. (This is where we tell you that the victim in that unwholesome incident had never even MET Breff Favre before he —allegedly — texted her.) But as we always say, pro athletes can do anything to women if they’re good enough on the field. Favre has denied any wrongdoing, both then and now.
Alas, Brett Favre was not canceled. In fact, he was rolled out not only as an elder statesman of the game by the NFL, but as a celebrity spokesman for companies like Copper Fit, Sensodyne, Wrangler, and Hyundai. And it’s because of that adulation despite alleged terrible behavior that Brett Favre was in any position to do what he’s accused of doing down in Mississippi.
Part of Favre’s “aw shucks” small-town boy image was his attachment to his home state of Mississippi, where he was born, played his college ball, and currently resides. Brett Favre ain’t no sissy left coast elitist! He’s a good ole boy from down Mississippi, goll darn it!
That regular guy schtick and love of his home state is what makes Favre’s alleged role in diverting welfare money from the needy in Mississippi, the poorest state in the Union by several different metrics, so galling. Here’s what our Eric Blum had to say about the allegations against Favre back in November:
As if Brett Favre’s blunders in (allegedly) diverting $5 million of Mississippi’s federal welfare money to build a new volleyball facility at Southern Miss wasn’t crazy enough, two concussion drug companies he backed that are also entangled in the scandal overstated the known effectiveness of their drugs to raise money, according to an ESPN report.
Favre, who was paid over $138 million in his NFL career, was also funneled $1.1 million to promote a state initiative, a portion of the $77 million in misspent welfare funds, for speeches that he never delivered. Those funds were reportedly a backchannel to his volleyball arena project. An audit released in 2020 said that New’s Mississippi Community Education Center paid Favre Enterprises $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 to make speeches for at least three events. In 2020, Favre was ordered to repay the funds, but still owes nearly $228,000 in interest.
Favre has said he was unaware the funds directed to him for his speeches were welfare-designated funds.
If the odious allegations are true, they can’t be understood without mentioning that less than two percent of those who apply for welfare in Mississippi actually get it, the lowest acceptance rate in the nation. So, poorest state in the county + lowest welfare acceptance rate = a whole lot of people who needed that money much more than the University of Southern Mississippi’s volleyball team did.
Favre has denied the allegations and blamed the media, saying in a statement to Fox News (of course), “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight. No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.”
That would be a much more believable argument had the Mississippi Free Press not released text messages from Favre to non-profit founder Nancy New, who has since pled guilty to bribery of a public official, fraud against the government, and wire fraud, asking if there was any way the media could find out how where the diverted funds came from. Good thinking, Brett.
The entire story is long and terrible and devastatingly sad for needy families in Mississippi. But Brett Favre has been terrible for a long time. Sad it took sports fans this long to figure that out.
1. Herschel Walker
2022 is the year Herschel Walker rebranded himself as a generational IDIOT OF THE YEAR talent. There had been glimpses before, but he showcased his full-range of idiocy in 2022. Each week, the former UGA and NFL running back humiliated himself in pursuit of power and influence he seemed to have no plans to yield it for, beyond the sheer ambition of it all. He repeatedly doubled down on his unfortunate President Camacho imitation under the intense microscope of running for one of Georgia’s Senate seats, watched his own son turn against him, then lost (twice, technically, if you include the runoff) and returned to a personal life left in shambles.
Recruited to run for Raphael Warnock’s Georgia senate seat as the token black candidate in Donald Trump’s obsequious rogues’ gallery of unelectable election-denying candidates, Walker was among the worst of the worst. If you lumped together a scouting report of the biggest Trump-backed losers to run for office during the recent election cycle, none boast Walker’s collective lousiness.
He’d terrorized his ex-wife, alienated the only son he acknowledged the existence of — denigrating his looks and intelligence — called his then-wife’s genes awful, possibly ran afoul of several tax laws during his campaign, and was regarded as a shameless and obvious habitual liar to his own campaign staffers. However, what’s concerning is that those traits may have been what whisked him through a GOP primary so easily he didn’t even show up at debates as long as he brown-nosed Trump. And that’s just the preamble to his agonizingly duff general election performance art.
He represented himself to be a born-again Christian, yet hid multiple children born out of wedlock decades apart from his own campaign and has reportedly been an absentee father to his children. These revelations emerged not long after he railed against fatherless black children. In his fervor to skewer African-Americans to appeal for support from a conservative white voting bloc that bristles at any examination of its own decades of bigotry, he denied the existence of systemic racism. That feature was instrumental to the Walker campaign.
Over a summer in which a conservative Supreme Court repealed the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, Herschel Walker had the gall to propose insane total abortion bans. Walker did this while presumably knowing that the women whose abortions he’d paid for would hear this. Eventually, that’s exactly what happened as two women came forward with receipts in the form of checks to blast his blatant hypocrisy.
As a campaigner, Walker was a dud. His oratorical skills were akin to a fifth grader explaining Cloud Atlas. He compared his résumé to Barack Obama’s without a hint of sarcasm and his policy expertise was in fictional fairy tale creatures. During the run-off, Walker fixated on attacking the transgender community and eventually was given chaperones during media appearances to keep him from sticking his foot into his own mouth.
Things got so dire for the Walker campaign that the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Georgia publicly expressed his inability to to vote for “one of the worst candidates” in GOP history. Walker earned his place in infamy and burrowed back underneath the rock he climbed out of, but not before embarrassing the state of Georgia throughout 2022.