Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong were both extensively in the public eye to start the season and had highly publicized interviews to give their side of the story of the scandals that they were involved in. While the pair hoped their interviews could help their public image, it doesn’t seem like they made the impressive they were hoping for.
Instead, Te’o and Armstrong top Forbes’ America’s Most Disliked Athletes list. Per Forbes’ report:
The latest public surveys from Nielsen/E-Poll show Te’o and Armstrong in a virtual dead heat for the dubious title of America’s most disliked athlete (though we give the nod to Armstrong based on higher name recognition, which gives his score a bit more heft). Each appeals to just 15% of the public, according to Nielsen’s polling, which it conducts on a rolling basis with the help of E-Poll, an Encino, Calif.-based market research firm. Candidates were limited to active athletes with a minimum of 10% awareness (Armstrong is now barred from officially sanctioned events, but still competes as an athlete, hence for all practical purposes he is active).
“The Oprah interview hurt [Armstrong, he came off as pompous, arrogant and unapologetic,” says Stephen Master, senior vice president of sports at Nielsen.
As for the reasoning for Te’o being near the top:
“The story was just so creepy,” Master says. “And even when he knew he’d been duped he stuck with the story for awhile, and he’d told people he had met the woman in person.”
Te’o and Armstrong are leading the race for number one and come in ahead of the likes of Lakers forward Metta World Peace, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. It isn’t exactly the type of list that an athlete hopes to land No. 1 one.