Some athletes just rub us the wrong way

by Gary Shelton on February 4, 2022

in general

Antonio Brown has become an annoyance./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

There are athletes who take away our breath. There are athletes that make us stand in appreciation. There are athletes who inspire us, athletes who thrill us, athletes that make us wear their jersey numbers as if we were still 12.

And then there are the Annoying Ones.

In this world of opinions, and action, and reaction, there are athletes who make us curl our lips. There have always been those. Some athletes are so

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

full of themselves, so in love with their own images, that all we can do is shake our heads or roll our eyes.

You know, like Antonio Brown.

Brown is a walking headache, a player who keeps lighting fire to his own last chances. Yet, every day, there seems to be another headline, wheher he's threatening a lawsuit or turning on Tom Brady or asking why anyone would think he had turned on Brady.

Yeah, Brown is one of the Annoying Ones. He has been since he bailed on the Steelers, back since when he threatened Raiders' general manager Mike Mayock, back since when he faked a vaccination card. Before he was thrown out of the NFL, he led the league in being a nut bar. Any team that has gambled on him has lost.

So, yeah, Brown gets our goat.

But is he the only one?

How about Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers is particularly annoying because he's such a good quarterback. But whether he's turning on his own organization, whether he' lying (yes, he did) about being immunized, whether he's trying to compare what he knows about science with real scientists, he can get on your nerves.

You want to talk annoying? How about Urban Meyer, who didn't last a season with the Jaguars and still hung on too long. Meyer was annoying even when he was winning national titles at Florida and looking the other way when his athletes were arrested.

Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Commanders, annoys me. I've known two people who interviewed with him, and the interviews were pretty much with Snyder telling them how cool he was.

Jerry Jones galls me. He finagled his way into the Hall of Fame although he's won exactly one title since Jimmy Johnson left town.

Then there are the legacy Annoying Ones, the guys who will curl your lip forever. Tiger Woods. Lance Armstrong. O.J. Simpson. Hope Solo. Mike Tyson. Alex Rodriguez. Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Dennis Rodman. Manny Machado. Oscar Pistorius. Tonya Harding. Terrell Owens. Manny Ramirez. Richie Incognito. You know the list.

Oh, there are a couple of guys who are on Annoying lists who don't bother me. Tom Brady, the recently retired one, for instance. Brady stuck around long enough so people tired of the praise he gets. But to me, he represents will and competitiveness.

Then there is Tim Tebow, who was a lousy pro. It rankled a lot of fans because a lot of other fans thought he was Mr. Wonderful. But what, exactly, did Tebow do that was wrong? He was a great kid, and an amazing college player (three top-five finishes in the Heisman; no one else has done that).

Local villains? Hugh Culverhouse annoyed me. Bruce Allen, the old Bucs' general manager, was annoying. Jerramy Stephens, the former Tampa Bay tight end, was annoying. Vinnie Castilla was annoying. Pat Burrell was annoying. Ray Perkins, the old Bucs coach, was annoying.

The thing is, athletes can annoy us for a variety of reasons. Because they're bad guys. Because they're good guys. Because they're in too many commercials. Because they can't win the big one. Because they've won too many big ones.

Here's a confession. When I worked for the Times, and I traded my opinion for coin, I might have been on some people's lists myself. A lot of owners, a lot of coaches, a lot of players thought I was an opinionated smart-ass. That's true.

It annoys me to admit it.

Previous post:

Next post: