Cyclist Lance Armstrong shares top marks with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o on the kind of list no athlete wants to find themselves on: the most disliked players in the nation.
According to the Daily News doping cheat Armstrong and alleged hoax victim Te'o share top billing, closely followed by A-Rod, Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods.
Alex Rodriguez, who's been having a rough time lately, can take small comfort that he is not the most hated man in sports. That doubtful distinction goes to Lance Armstrong, the admitted cheat who is now the most disliked athlete in America, according to a poll by Nielsen and E-Poll.
Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France champion, is a cancer survivor and the face of the LiveStrong charity. But now he is banned from competition and on two television interviews with Oprah Winfrey he confessed to doping to accomplish his remarkable athletic feats.
'The Oprah interview hurt him, he came off as pompous, arrogant and unapologetic,' Stephen Master, Nielson’s senior VP of sports, told Forbes.
Armstrong tied for first (or worst place) with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, but Armstrong inched ahead of the tie breaker due to his name recognition. Both men only appealed to fifteen percent of the public.
Te’o led the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 season and the BCS title game, along the way garnering sympathy from the public after the reported deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend. But in a bizarre twist it turned out that his girlfriend wasn't real. Instead she was a person invented as part of an elaborate hoax.
Te'o told the press he had been tricked, but his explanations didn't sit well with those polled by Nielsen and E-Poll.
Golfer Tiger Woods was third on the unpopular list and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was fourth. Lakers forward Metta World Peace was fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.