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Thread: Big Ben one of the most disliked people in sports

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    Default Big Ben one of the most disliked people in sports

    The most disliked people in sports

    By Tom Van Riper,

    Michael Vick has been out of prison for almost a year. He’s publicly apologized for his role in a dog-fighting ring that landed him behind bars for 21 months. He’s got an uncontroversial year on the football field behind him as a part-timer for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have picked up his option for another season.

    Yet Vick’s image rehab is moving along at a snail’s pace. For the second year in a row, he tops our list of Most Disliked People in Sports, with 69 percent of those polled citing Vick as someone they “Dislike a lot,” “Dislike,” or “Dislike some” according to E-Poll Market Research.

    The ASPCA turned down Vick’s offer to work with them on animal cruelty prevention. Nonetheless, Vick still appears poised for a recovery with the public. Unlike some athletes whose main talent seems to be getting in trouble, Vick was a popular and dynamic player before the dog-fighting episode – all he must do is repent for the single episode that sent his stock dropping like lead.

    But it takes time, especially when minimal playing time leaves few opportunities to draw enough media attention to match the nonstop coverage his criminal case drew last year.

    “The general public largely still knows him for the dog fighting,” says Gerry Philpott, E-Poll’s CEO, citing his unusually high 54 percent awareness rating. “If you were to limit the responses to just NFL fans, Vick’s number would probably skew lower.”

    To measure public opinion of sports figures, E-Poll surveyed 1,100 people nationwide, aged 13 or older. Forbes limited eligibility to those currently active in sports as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster, agent or owner. A 10 percent minimum awareness level was also a prerequisite (that eliminated drug-using cyclist Floyd Landis and money-grubbing baseball agent Scott Boros, both very much disliked by the few but anonymous to the many).

    Right behind Vick in this year’s poll: Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, a longtime maverick with a history of clashing with the NFL, coaches and politicians in Northern and Southern California over stadium deals that have led him to move the club twice. Also making the list is fellow renegade NFL owner Jerry Jones, who likes to run the Dallas Cowboys as more of a free-standing business than as part of a league.

    Others making an appearance: baseball’s steroid poster boys Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire (McGwire’s return to coaching this year made him eligible for the list), along with football wide receiver diva Terrell Owens and gun-wielding NBA star Gilbert Arenas.

    The most significant new entries this year, unsurprisingly, are Tiger Woods and Ben Roethlisberger, the latest pair making tabloid headlines for their extracurricular activities. Woods’ infidelities have been well-chronicled since last fall, with most crisis management experts saying his public apology came too late. Now that he’s back on the course, most think a tournament win or two, coupled with good behavior, should get him back on track. But as with Vick, it takes time.

    Roethlisberger, though, has his work cut out for him. While accusations of sexual assault against him by a Georgia college student didn’t lead to formal charges, the episode left the public with a picture of him as a 28-year-old frat boy.

    The assault allegation “was bad, but the videos of Ben at the night club didn’t help him either,” says Cindy Rakowitz, a Los Angeles-based crisis management consultant. “His apology didn’t seem sincere, nor did it get as much air play as the video of him handing out shots and dancing to Miley Cyrus.”

    And unlike Woods, he plays a team sport. The six-game suspension levied against him by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hurts the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. Fans can be tough when what they see as selfish behavior has consequences for the team. The fans’ memo to Big Ben: Grow up.

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    Default Re: Big Ben one of the most disliked people in sports

    Jerry Jones, the man who fired Tom Landry. Says it all.

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    Default Re: Big Ben one of the most disliked people in sports

    Mike Vick is the most hated sports figure, two years running

    Posted by Mike Florio on June 19, 2010 4:25 PM ET

    Last year, quarterback Mike Vick topped a Forbes poll of the most hated persons in sports.

    This year, he can crack the champagne again.

    Vick has landed at No. 1 for a second straight year, even though he largely has become irrelevant as a backup quarterback and part-time gimmick option for the Eagles.

    The rest of the 2010 top five consists of Raiders owner Al Davis, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, golfer Tiger Woods, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

    Last year, Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez landed at No. 2, followed by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Bills receiver Terrell Owens, and Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

    In 2009, no one connected to the NFL other than Vick landed in the top ten. This year, the NFL holds four out of the top five spots. We're not sure whether it's evidence of a sign of growing fan discontent against pro football -- or whether it's further proof that no sports league inflames passion like the NFL.

    We'll pick the latter. But it would be wise for the league and the NFLPA to at least consider the possibility that it's the former.

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    Default Re: Big Ben one of the most disliked people in sports

    Gorman: Lost opportunity for Roethlisberger

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010
    Big Ben's bad ranking

    Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the third most-hated man in sports, according to a Forbes magazine poll.

    He received a 57 percent disapproval rating.

    For the second consecutive year, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick ranked No. 1 at 69 percent, and Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was second at 66 percent. Jerry Jones and Tiger Woods (53 percent) tied for fourth.

    With Mike Tomlin serving as moderator, football campers were free to ask anything of special guest Heath Miller.

    The Steelers' Pro Bowl tight end must have been caught off-guard by one question:

    Do you have a bodyguard?

    Ben Roethlisberger's name is no longer associated with what is now known as the Coach Tomlin Football Camp, but it was a telling display of the damage Roethlisberger has done to his reputation.

    Kids know that Roethlisberger has been run through the ringer since March 5, when — in the company of two law-enforcement officers serving as bodyguards — he was accused of (but not charged with) sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman at a nightclub in Milledgeville, Ga.

    Miller handled it deftly, asking, "No ... are you looking to help me out?"

    After relying on self-serving, sit-down interviews with hand-picked local television stations, Roethlisberger could have used the camp to begin repairing his image in front of his most impressionable fans.

    Instead, Monday was another example of the Steelers covering for their franchise quarterback amid the chronicling of boorish behavior that recently brought Roethlisberger a No. 3 ranking in a Forbes magazine poll of the most-hated men in sports.

    "This is normally a camp that Ben does," Miller said. "Obviously, he wasn't able to do it this year, so we'll all step in and pick up the slack for him."

    The move to replace Roethlisberger with Tomlin and rename the camp was fallout from the conditional six-game suspension the NFL handed Roethlisberger in April after two sexual assault accusations in nine months.

    It was a collective decision, one that served both the interests of the sponsors and Roethlisberger's charitable foundation, over concerns that parents would resist sending their children to a camp run by the Steelers quarterback. It's one that apparently is killing Roethlisberger, who is said to love the camp but was advised that the wounds still were too fresh.

    They found a good replacement in Tomlin.

    The 38-year-old father of three bounced from drill to drill and playfully interacted with the campers, ages 7-14 — including his two sons — yesterday at Mars High School.

    "Are you kidding? I coach kids every day because I've got three waiting in the driveway for me when I get home from work, two of which are out here," Tomlin said. "We're parents first. What I do is what I do. Dad is who I am. Working with kids is a passion of mine. I happen to get a lot of work at it, a lot of opportunity to get better at it. We're doing that here."

    The Steelers coach said he was only baby-sitting, that it was his "full intention" for Roethlisberger to headline the camp next year, and he objected to an assertion that the switch was meant to rehabilitate the Steelers' image.

    "We're not interested in rehabilitation," Tomlin said. "We're just interested in doing what's right by these young folks. We're looking forward to these three days. I'm glad to be a part of it.

    "This really has nothing to do with what's going on with us professionally as a football team or organization."

    That's the shame of it, really.

    Too often we put professional athletes on a pedestal, only to pounce upon their mistakes when learning from them would be more beneficial. It's understandable that no one wants to be associated with negative publicity when it's easier for companies to distance themselves from trouble.

    But what kind of message does that send?

    The youth football camp would have been the perfect venue for Roethlisberger to show some accountability by making himself available to young Steelers fans. What was lost was a chance to humanize Roethlisberger, to let him show children the lesson of admitting that we all make mistakes and the importance of picking yourself up after falling down.

    "Hopefully," Miller said, "this will be a lasting experience for these kids that they'll remember for awhile."

    No doubt they will.

    You just wonder what kind of message was sent.

    If the campers ever get in trouble, will they show up and answer for it or expect someone else to step in and pick up the slack? ... 87093.html

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