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Top 50 Jerks in Sports History


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June 25, 2007

By Mike Freeman

CBS SportsLine.com National Columnist

Introducing the inaugural and soon-to-be annual Top 50 Sports Jerks of All Time.

Or as we call the list here at CBS SportsLine.com, the 50 dudes you've always wanted to punch in the face.

Just don't try it because some of these guys go for the groin.

The Jerkitude 50 are some of the meanest, nastiest, baddest mo-fos on the planet.

But they're all simply misunderstood. Just so you know.

The list was developed utilizing a complicated formula developed by NASA, endorsed by Bobby Knight, approved by Tonya Harding and finalized under the watchful eye of my friend and fellow jerk Gregg Doyel.

While revealing the intricate formula would result in my immediate disappearance and subject me to intense bitch-slapping at the hands of Randy Moss, factors such as arrests, treatment of fans, treatment of fellow athletes, treatment of women, drug use, treatment of the media, involvement in scandal and overall respect for their sport, among other criteria, are all part of developing the list and assigning a jerkitude score.

Each candidate received a specific score of jerkitude from one to five. With a jerkitude score of five being, oh, say, a certain former athlete being accused of a double murder using a knife, with a score of one being two mascots getting into a fistfight.

We need this list. We crave this list. You have badgered me for it for some time, so here it is.

And if you act up, I'll stick your ass on it.

50. Jeremy Foley, Bill Parcells -- Verbally abusive bullies. Level of jerkitude for each: 1.1

49. Ray Lewis -- Misled police in a murder case. Jerk level: 1.2.

48. Dave Kingman -- Described in one baseball book as a "sullen, abrasive personality." Yep. That about sums him up. Jerk level: 1.3

47. Bill Romanowski -- Have spit, will travel. Jerk level: 1.5

46. Diego Maradona -- Pompous-ass soccer star suspended for 15 months in 1991 for testing positive for cocaine. Jerk level: 1.5

45. Jim Brown -- One of my athletic heroes and a great, great man, but damn ... that temper with women. Jerk level: 1.5

44. Albert Belle -- This from former New York Times baseball writer Buster Olney: "It was a given in baseball circles that Albert Belle was nuts. ... The Indians billed him $10,000 a year for the damage he caused in clubhouses on the road and at home, and tolerated his behavior only because he was an awesome slugger. ... He slurped coffee constantly and seemed to be on a perpetual caffeinated frenzy. Few escaped his anger -- on some days he would destroy the postgame buffet ... launching plates into the shower ... after one poor at-bat against Boston, he retreated to the visitor's clubhouse and took a bat to teammate Kenny Lofton's boom box. Belle preferred to have the clubhouse cold, below 60 degrees, and when one chilly teammate turned up the heat, Belle walked over, turned down the thermostat and smashed it with his bat. His nickname, thereafter, was 'Mr. Freeze.'"

Don't worry Albert. You have earned a chilled 2.0 on the jerkitude scale.

43. Kenny Rogers -- Attacked a cameraman, which is like proving your toughness against a goldfish. Jerk level: 2.

42. Babe Ruth -- Kind of a bragging blowhard that gorged on hotdogs, beer and the ladies. Jerk level: 2.

41. Eugene Robinson -- Busted for soliciting a prostitute on the eve of the Super Bowl after receiving the Bart Starr Award for outstanding moral character. Jerk level: 2 (includes arrest bonus).

the historic Cleveland Browns. Jerk level: 2.3

37. Marcus and Michael Vick -- A combo platter, they count as one. To borrow a line from the great MTV show Yo Mama, Ron Mexico is so nasty that if they pumped his stomach, Lil' Kim would fall out. Jerk level: 2.5 (which includes a pseudonym bonus).

36. Pacman Jones -- quickly moving up the jerkitude charts. Jerk level: 2.55 (loses jerk points for only being questioned in regard to a number of crimes and not arrested).

35. Don King -- Bodacious, vivacious, delicious. God bless America and God bless a jerk rating of 2.7.

34. Overly sensitive fans of Barbaro -- It was a horse, dammit. IT WAS A HORSE! Jerk level: 2.7

33. Terrell Owens -- Once said, "I love me some me." A jerk qualifier on that statement alone. Jerk level: 2.7.

32. Kenesaw Mountain Landis -- Hardcore racist who refused to integrate baseball as commissioner. Jerk level: 2.8.

31. Benny Silman -- Mastermind of point-shaving scandal at Arizona State. Bet on a jerk score of 2.8, pal.

30. Wilt Chamberlain -- Dang, dawg, 20,000 women? Even Paris Hilton says that's nasty. Jerk level: 2.8.

29. George Steinbrenner -- Has fired the equivalent of the population of Paraguay. Jerk level: 2.8 (loses jerk points for mellowing in recent years).

28. Kermit Washington -- Hit Rudy Tomjanovich so hard it almost knocked him into the future. Jerk level: 2.8.

27. Scott Boras -- One of the main reasons why a number of baseball players have become rich, spoiled punks. Jerk level: 3.

26. Tommy Lasorda -- A crotchety old goat responsible for one of the greatest tirades ever. Lasorda, when he managed the Dodgers, was asked by a reporter in May 1978 what he thought of Kingman hitting three home runs against his team.

Lasorda responded: "What's my opinion of Kingman's performance!? What the f--- do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was f------ horse s---! Put that in, I don't f------ care. Opinion of his performance? Jesus Christ, he beat us with three f------ home runs! What the f--- do you mean, 'What is my opinion of his performance?' How could you ask me a question like that, 'What is my opinion of his performance?' Jesus Christ, he hit three home runs! Jesus Christ! I'm f------ pissed off to lose the f------ game. And you ask me my opinion of his performance! Jesus Christ. That's a tough question to ask me, isn't it? 'What is my opinion of his performance?'"

Alert: special dispensation for massive foul language in public and verbal abuse. Potential jerk Hall of Fame candidate. Tommy: What is your opinion of a jerkitude score of 4?

25. Brenton Wuchae -- It is indeed a rarity for a high school track coach to make such an all-time, prestigious list. However, Mr. Wuchae gets the only 5-star jerk rating outside of the top five (another special dispensation) for recently marrying a 16-year-old girl he used to coach. Ewwww.

24. Randall Simon -- The former Pittsburgh Pirate was arrested and fined $432 in July 2003 for taking his bat and smacking a woman dressed as a sausage on the head during the Milwaukee Brewers' sausage race. She was knocked to the ground and Simon was reminded of something mamma used to say: Never pound your sausage. Level of jerkitude: 3.

23. Claude Lemieux -- One of the all-time dirty players in sports. Once bit an opponent on the finger. Tasted like chicken. Jerkitude: 3.

22. Michael Irvin -- His life can be partially summed up with The Mighty Diamonds song: Pass the Kouchie. Jerk score: 3.1.

21. Jeff Kent -- Punk. Jerk score: 3.1.

20. John McEnroe -- You cannot be serious! Jerk score: 3.3.

19. Ben Johnson -- Juiced-up fake and one of the eternal symbols of the steroid era. Jerk score: 3.5.

18. Dale Earnhardt Sr. -- A jerk on wheels. Jerk score: 3.5.

17. Randy Moss -- Simulated showing his funky heinie to Green Bay fans and allegedly attempted to run over a meter maid, among other numerous jerk moves. Forget your quarters, Randy? Jerk score: 3.7.

16. Paul Gascoigne -- Former British soccer star and one of the biggest cads in the history of the sport. He earns a jerk score of 3.85 based on being fired as manager of Kettering after only 39 days amid allegations he was often drunk on the job.

15. Kobe Bryant -- The most selfish player in NBA history. Oh wait, he just asked to be traded again. Jerk score: 4 (special jerk points for waffling in public and ranting on video).

14. Reggie Jackson -- Mr. October and Mr. Jerk Face. Score: 4.

13. John Rocker -- On the 7 train to infamy. Jerk score: 4.1.

12. Latrell Sprewell -- Accused of choking P.J. Carlisemo. Jerk score: a respectable 4.2.

11. Lawrence Phillips -- Multiple accusations of abuse of women. Jerk score: 4.3 (includes domestic violence bonus points).

10. Ron Artest -- Started a riot and then made a rap album. Was more skilled at the former than the latter. Jerk score: a 4.4.

9. Barry Bonds -- Look up the word jerk in the dictionary and there is Bonds, smirking, ready to whip your ass just for saying hello. Jerk score: 4.6.

8. Lawrence Taylor -- Once, when asked what he could do better than any other outside linebacker in history, Taylor replied, "Drink." Taylor was one of the biggest partiers and substance abusers in NFL history. Jerk level: 4.7 (loses jerk points for recently cleaning up his life).

7. Bobby Knight -- Could arguably be in the top five. Has redefined the word jerk like few others. Jerkitude status: 4.8 chairs thrown.

6. Mike Tyson -- Rapist, ear biter, bankrupt, drug user, perennial hoosegow resident. He is the perfect storm of jerkitude. Also provided some of the great quotes of all time. One was: "My power is discombobulatingly devastating. I could feel his muscle tissues collapse under my force. It's ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm."

Another: "I guess I'm gonna fade into Bolivian."

Another: "I can sell out Madison Square Garden masturbating."

Another was, speaking to reporters: "I'm on the Zoloft [an antidepressant] to keep from killing y'all."

And the best ever during a post-fight interview: "Lennox Lewis, I'm coming for you, man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!" Praise be to a jerk score of 4.9.

5. Robert Irsay -- Moved the then-Baltimore Colts out of town under the cover of the night in one of the more gutless moves in team sports history. Jerk score: 4.9.

4. Tonya Harding -- As Nancy Kerrigan asked after she was attacked by Harding's goons, "Whyyyyyyyy!" Jerk score: 4.98.

3. Ty Cobb -- One of the worst human beings to ever wear a sports uniform. Jerk score: a rockum sockum 4.99.

2. Rae Carruth -- Currently in prison for conspiring to murder his girlfriend. Jerk score: 5.

1. O.J. Simpson -- Simpson receives the only DEFCON Jerkitude special ranking of six. He also receives a civilly-liable-murder bonus, a got-away-with-it bonus, a peddling-book-on-murders bonus, a still-searching-for-real-killer bonus and an overall-smarmy bonus. All-time jerkitude record of 6 that will never, ever be broken.

Just missing out of the Jerkitude 50: Phil Fulmer; Bobby Cox (tied for all-time ejection record at 131); Christian Peter; Bode Miller; Ricky Williams (although he might be too stoned to be a jerk); Darryl Strawberry; Tony Stewart; Vernon Maxwell; Marty McSorley; the Cincinnati Bengals; Joe Namath ("I want to kiss you!"); Steve Bartman; Jeremy Shockey; Dennis Rodman; Bill Laimbeer; Conrad Dobler (arguably a solid top 50 Jerkitude candidate); John Stockton; any idiot who starts fire(insert name of coach here).com; Andre Waters; Roger Clemens; Chuck Cecil; Rickey Henderson; Maurice Clarett; the Portland Jail Blazers; Shawn Kemp; and Mr. Knock-It-Off himself, Ryan Leaf.

The list will be back next year with new names and re-seeding as well as a special media section.

Meanwhile, Pacman Jones is climbing the list so fast our heads are spinning.

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Earnhardt is on this list?

What a joke

For those who forget, before his sainthood was established after his death in 2001, Dale Earnhardt was an assh*le of the highest caliber....

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Earnhardt is on this list?

What a joke

For those who forget, before his sainthood was established after his death in 2001, Dale Earnhardt was an assh*le of the highest caliber....

Listen to this man, he's an expert on being an a$$hole. :P

Nice to see you back around these parts, Kinger. It was boring here for those 2 months.

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Why because he intimidated other drivers oh my boo hoo, thats what made Earnhardt the best ever.

Being a jerk and being the best ever are not mutually exclusive. In fact, there are plenty of examples for strong causality in either direction.

EDIT: Read on for spyboy1's perfect assessment of the Steve Bartman thing.

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I was with him alllllllll the way down to the honorable mentions.

Leave Steve Bartman the hell alone! That could have been any one of us.

If freaking Alex Gonzalez fields that ball and turns a sure double play Bartman's name is forgotten by the next morning. Heck, we never even would have learned what his name was.

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Tommy Lasorda doesn't belong on this list. Yes, he had that huge tirade and he had a few other tirades. But you think of Lasorda and you think of this lasagna-eating, fat, jolly baseball manager.



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Earnhardt is on this list?

What a joke

For those who forget, before his sainthood was established after his death in 2001, Dale Earnhardt was an assh*le of the highest caliber....

Thank you!!!!

Oh, and unfortunately we can now add Chris Benoit near the top of the list.

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Yeah, Bobby Cox is going to eventually hold the all-time ejections "record", but the bulk of his ejections are from standing up for his players. I can't remember the last time a Braves player was ejected from a game and Cox wasn't.

Short-tempered? Probably. Jerk? Not in hell.

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Earnhardt is on this list?

What a joke

Yeah, I didn't think Earnhardt would make it there because he didn't seem like the kind of guy who would be an ars.

One athlete who I know is a jerk has got to Daunte Culpepper. When he played here in MN I met him becuase my ball coach was his neighbor and we went to his party once and he didn't talk to anybody he didn't knew because he just thought he was the shiat, it's pretty ridiculous if you ask me. I think he should most definately be up there.

Wheres Pete Rose in there too?

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And Bonds? Belongs right after the murderers - and ahead of Cobb. Cobb at least didn't deny he was an arrogant, racist SOB.

Are you kidding me? Barry Bonds has never choked an umpire during a game. Barry Bonds has never stabbed anyone. So somehow Cobb's pride in his bigotry and attempted murder makes it acceptable?

I'm all for being honest and straightforward, but the measure of a man is more than that to me. It's about integrity, of which honesty is only a component.

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Tommy Lasorda doesn't belong on this list. Yes, he had that huge tirade and he had a few other tirades. But you think of Lasorda and you think of this lasagna-eatingSlim-Fast drinking, (yet, still)fat , jolly baseball manager.



made a few more corrections

... hmmmm... no Bertuzzi on the list?

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