When Lebron James came out and made it public that he was going to play for the Miami Heat and leave Cleveland, he instantly became one of the most hated athletes in the world. His jerseys were being burned daily and his popularity was at an all time low. But when James told Soledad O’Brien that he believed that some of the hate he was receiving was because of racism, everyone went quiet. We like to believe that racism does not play a role in sports, I mean hey, we have a black president for petes sake. Many critics of James said that it was his antics, and the way he treated the situation that made him a villain. This idea of being a villain in the sports world inspired me to research the most hated athletes of all time.
I came upon a list of the top 25 most hated athletes of all time published by the website Bleacher Report which receives over 20 million monthly readers and boasts the ranking of number 4 site for sports media. So, lets take a look at how many athletes on the top 25 most hated atletes of all time were black. Heres how the numbers break down, 17 Black athletes and 7 White athletes and 1 Spanish athlete. These numbers are pretty consistent in other lists as well. So why are black athletes so prevalent on these lists. It could be argued that there are more high profile black athletes, but I believe that racism is not dead, and that racism effects how the public views athletes. White athletes who commit crimes and cheat are often forgiven and said to have made a mistake, while black athletes who commit the same mistakesare criminals and hated by the public. The sad truth is that it is easier for people to hate black athletes then it is to hate a white athlete.