The 10 athletes with the worst images

Cheaters, liars, and dog-fighters made the list, as well as a few athletes whose lack of appeal stems from something more visceral. They are the punching bags of sports.

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That’s where the similarities between a veteran cyclist and college linebacker end.

“The two are not mutually exclusive, aside from the timing,” said Gregory Lee Hendricks, a sports PR guy in Chicago. “If the Manti scandal didn’t break at the same time as Lance Armstrong, they would not be in the same breath.”

Despite their differences, both athletes appeal to an abysmal 15 percent of Americans, putting them atop the list of the most-disliked athletes in sports.

The athletes who made this list reveal the curious collective psyche of sports fans. Athletes such as Armstrong and Te’o did something to earn their lousy reputations. Armstrong cheated and Te’o fell victim to an elaborate hoax, or so he claims.

Then there are athletes whom the public dislikes because, well, just because.

“You have your athletes who are currently embroiled in a scandal,” Hendricks said, “and then you just have your punching bags.”

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