Armstrong Tops Forbes Most Disliked US Athletes List

Lance Armstrong_2011_headshot

WASHINGTON, Feb 6, 2013 (AFP) – Disgraced US cyclist Lance Armstrong, who
confessed last month to doping after being stripped of his seven Tour de
France titles last year, tops the new Forbes magazine list of most disliked US
athletes.

The list, released on the magazine’s website Wednesday, saw Armstrong edge
collegiate American football player Manti Te’o on a higher name recognition
tie-breaker after each had only 15 percent appeal in a Nielsen/E-Poll survey.

Armstrong backpedaled on years of denials last month by admitting he had
taken performance-enhancing drugs during his 1999-2005 victory run in the
Tour, tainted his cancer-comeback story and Livestrong Foundation charity
efforts.

Te’o was a linebacker for Notre Dame, which lost to Alabama in last month’s
US college gridiron title game, and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting
as last season’s top player, making him a top National Football League
prospect.

But then came the revelation that the girlfriend whose death he grieved in
the season had never existed, only the product of internet fakery and a voice
on a telephone.

He said he was not involved in the hoax and was merely duped, even when
lying about having met the fictional girlfriend.

Tiger Woods, the 14-time major golf champion who won his 75th career US PGA
Tour title last month at Torrey Pines, was third on the list at 19 percent
appeal, a likely lingering aftermath of the epic sex scandal that destroyed
his marriage and damaged his iconic good-guy marketing image and sponsorship
deals.

NFL Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was fourth, followed in order by
Metta World Peace of the NBA Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Rodriguez of Major
League Baseball’s New York Yankees, NFL Philadelphia Eagles quarterback
Michael Vick, US stock car racer Kurt Busch, World Peace’s teammate Kobe
Bryant and NFL Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Rodriguez, who admitted taking performance-enhancing substances in 2009,
was linked to such drugs again in a Miami New Times report last month based on
records obtained from an employee at Biogenesis, a Miami clinic that allegedly
supplied human growth hormone and other drugs to major league players.

Vick, a former disliked list topper, spent time in prison for his role in a
dog-fight gambling ring, which included slaying underperforming dogs.

Among those dropping off the list from 2012 was NBA superstar LeBron James,
who upset many fans when he departed the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami
Heat. Last year, James led the Heat to an NBA crown, the first of his career,
and helped the US Olympic team of NBA stars capture gold at London.

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