Most Misunderstood Sports Stars
Part and parcel of being a sports star in today’s world is the increased level of exposure to judgement and criticism by the media and public alike. Whilst some famous athletes have undoubtedly been the architects of their own negative reputations, there are however several high-profile stars who have attracted a lot of bad press and public distaste for seemingly minor and in some cases entirely non-existent reasons. A good example of this would be the media and public image of former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand. Rio has attracted a reputation amongst many of being too arrogant, flash and cocky. However, according to his agent Chris Nathaniel, this characterisation is unwarranted; “The fact is people that criticise him don’t actually know who he is. You find people just taking elements of what they choose to listen to and not knowing what the man is all about and what he does.” In this spirit of greater understanding, we have suggested some other star athletes whose reputations may have suffered as a result of unfair characterisations.
The first and perhaps most controversial inclusion in this category, goes to Tiger Woods. We know, his off-course antics in recent times have been somewhat questionable and have tainted his previously flawless, if somewhat uninteresting, reputation. Despite this however, Woods dominated his sport like few before or since have done and during the height of his career made golf, an historically elitist and somewhat impenetrable sport, attractive to millions of viewers and future players alike. Woods remains one of the hardest working and most committed athletes in any sport, and he carried the weight of the game solely on his shoulders for over a decade, a fact which perhaps made it somewhat inevitable that his personal life suffered as a result.
Being one of the most successful and recognisable sports stars in the world, Lebron James deserves an inclusion here because of the reputation he has gained as a superego whose primary motivations are money and fame. In fact, when considering his next move in 2014 Lebron rejected possible huge money deals to either New York or Chicago and instead returned to his home state of Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers, to pursue championship titles and success over dollars and stardom. In prioritising success and achievement, James demonstrated a loyalty which is rare in today’s world of huge money contracts and superstardom.