These athletes boast superior athletic talent, yet act as if they did something to earn it at birth. We offer props for the physical refinement, but somewhere along the line, the mental and social progress ceased to come along for the journey. You’ll notice there are no hockey players on this list, and it’s not because we don’t love hockey. It’s because hockey players are more enjoyable when they don’t have their crap together: beards, missing teeth, illegitimate children. But the following nine? Come on, fellas. It’s time to get it together.
9. Cam Newton
Watching a grown man roll around on the ground throwing a temper tantrum during the Super Bowl is what you’d expect to see in a viral fan video, before they smash their TV. Seeing the MVP of the National Football League do it during the game was embarrassing. Cam took it on the chin after Super Bowl 50 for walking out of an interview, and later admitting he’s a sore loser. What he put on display was definitive petulance. Will Cam grow from the experience? Let’s hope. He may also let that chip on his shoulder get a little harder, and a little more difficult to knock off. He should rest assured that all of his 2016 opponents will put an even bigger target on his back. Cam needs to grow up significantly if he’s ever to become the face of the league.
8. Robert Griffin III
Big Game Bob. RG3 is only a few years into his NFL experience, and outside of a stellar rookie campaign, it has been one tough row to hoe. Where will Robert land in the 2016 off-season, and how much of a contract will a team offer him? Will he be relegated to a back up role, or is another head coach going to force the issue? The marriage in Washington started hot and heavy, but quickly fizzled when Jay Gruden came to town, and discovered the RG3 success was based primarily on his ability to run the read option. When it came to traditional NFL QB play, Robert struggled mightily, pre-snap and post-snap—terrible reads and slow progressions. In his defense, his offensive line was akin to Swiss cheese when he was taking snaps. Robert’s career is reliant on the next six months. That is mind-boggling.
7. Dada 5000
There are those individuals with more talent than they will ever realize, and Dada 5000 is one of them. Anyone who tuned in to watch the embarrassment between him and Kimbo Slice at Bellator 149 is well aware this guy has never really listened to anyone his entire life. Dada is his own man, but his unwillingness to train nearly killed him, and not due to taking hits. His body failed internally due to severe crash dieting before the fight. Could Dada have been a legit threat for any MMA promotional circuit? Without a doubt. His athleticism and potential are out of this world, but he seems more interested in image, making some quick cash and boasting a badass reputation over doing what’s necessary to develop sustainable, in-the-cage character. He lacks self-discipline. We hope Dada can recover from the physical damage he did to his body.
6. Carlos Gomez
Carlos Gomez has hopped around to a few different Major League Baseball venues, and everywhere he goes he has caused some problems. Carlos is one of those guys who rubs nearly every opponent in the wrong way. He’s no stranger to jawing, or locking horns with the opposition for a number of reasons. Ultimately, Carlos may cost himself a legacy of being a baseball great because of his mental and emotional deficiencies. He can’t control his emotions or his temper on the field. Or even in the dugout. He’s also exceptionally arrogant for a guy who is a career .260 hitter. We have no axe to grind when it comes to Carlos, we’d just love to see him get his crap together so he might actually play an entire 162 game season to his fullest potential. At 30, he is in his baseball prime. It’d be a shame to waste any of it.
5. DeMarcus Cousins
Coming out of college, DeMarcus should have been the load-bearing pillar for a rebuilding franchise. Who knew he was such a temperamental variable? As it stands, he’s in Sacramento with another University of Kentucky enigmatic, Rajon Rondo, and several times throughout each season, we hear or read stories about DeMarcus losing it during a practice or after a game, then going all-in on his coaches and teammates. DeMarcus hates losing—that we understand—but is this guy so immature he doesn’t understand he’s making the situation worse with such negative tactics? The plus side of DeMarcus Cousins: he’s arguably the best big man in the league. There is no part of his game that lacks. He can score from anywhere. If he would get himself together, he would benefit in every career facet.
4. Yasiel Puig
It’s a cryin’ shame Yasiel Puig is known for his bone-headed mental errors as much as he is his exceptional athletic talent and baseball skill set. Yasiel has made more than his fair share of errors on the field, whether running the bases or loafing in the outfield. During his rookie campaign, most fans gave him a pass based on his upside, but now he has made it a habit to irritate the Dodgers fan base, as well as the executives. He struggles to show up to work on time, struggles to stay healthy and his play and preparation are inconsistent. This is what happens when some people get paid. A recent example of Yasiel Puig trying to put forth extra effort to prioritize his job was when he flew a helicopter to Dodger Stadium to avoid the horrendous Los Angeles traffic. The FAA didn’t think much of that.
3. Blake Griffin
What the h-e-double hockey sticks is wrong with Blake Griffin? This guy is odd. Not weird. Weird is a compliment. Blake is odd. His persona and his random outbursts of dumbassery have cost him what could have been an MVP season. We imagine the NBA will be handing that trophy to Steph Curry in 2016, but Blake was certainly in the conversation early. Griffin is a guy who has worked tirelessly to improve every facet of his game, only to break his hand punching an equipment manager. Nothing like paying a guy millions upon millions to have a streak of idiot in his repertoire. Blake is presently shooting around, and healing from a torn quad tendon, as well as his broken hand, but once he returns from injury, he’ll be required to sit for four more games as punishment for beating on a little guy.
2. Greg Hardy
Greg Hardy needs a personal overhaul. He needs a therapist who can break him down to childhood, find what, when, and where things went wrong, introduce him to a spiritual guide, then reintroduce him to the gridiron. It’s hard to imagine anyone taking a chance on Hardy if Dallas doesn’t sign, which is possible. This story is sad on so many levels. Here’s a guy who was suspended for domestic abuse, never really showed any remorse, wasn’t resigned by Carolina, was picked up by Dallas, and then offered a smorgasbord of idiocy through various media during the 2015 season. Where’s the guy from Ole Miss who did all of his talking on the field? It’s tough to know what serves as the tipping point for an individual—when a person with a solid reputation falls from grace. Is it the money? Influence? Power? Entitlement? The mix?
1. Johnny Manziel
This final selection brought to you by Captain Obvious. What in heaven or hell is wrong with Johnny Manziel? This guy is proof that some people don’t live in reality. We railed on his transgressions earlier in the year, but things seem to be getting worse. His Texas A&M alumni friend, Von Miller, has recently stated that Johnny is “on the right track” and getting things turned around. That doesn’t change the fact that Johnny could be charged with committing crimes stemming from domestic abuse in the near future. If that happens, Johnny may never play in the NFL again. If the kid was smart, he would call a press conference, or make an appearance on an ESPN talk show and make a few statements of humility. If he doesn’t right the ship immediately, he’ll become another “what could have been” ESPN documentary.