Dodgers’ McCourt among most despised owners
The best owners in sports are usually not heard, rarely seen and often win. Think of the Rooneys of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jerry Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers and John Henry, et al., of the Boston Red Sox. They collect trophies and hang banners without making too much fuss.
And yes, there is also Mark Cuban, who is always seen, usually heard and finally has delivered an NBA championship to Dallas. But he’s passionate about his team, willing to spring for the best players, and responsive to fans’ demands and critiques. For all that, the Mavs’ faithfuls are grateful.
On the other hand, it takes something entirely different to be despised by fans – the very fans who are supporters of your team.
|Slideshow: Sports’ most despised owners|
In the long annals of sports team ownership, Frank McCourt has few equals. In just seven years, he has turned one of the most fabled franchises in sports into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Even when the inevitable dawned, instead of gracefully walking away, he lawyered up and tried to keep the grip on a team he had no business owning in the first place. Dodgers fans have responded by staying away in droves, refusing to purchase any merchandise, and tuning out broadcasts even with the legendary Vin Scully at the mic.
McCourt is only the latest of a batch of bad owners to have resided in Tinseltown. In fact, when it comes to most hated owners, L.A. can probably have a list of its own.
Georgia Frontiere? Check. Al Davis? Check. The duo simultaneously departed the Southland in 1994, leaving the nation’s second-largest market without an NFL team to this date. Before McCourt, the Dodgers were owned by Fox, which in many respects started the franchise’s downward spiral with its unpopular trade of All-Star catcher Mike Piazza.
But none of them, as people, can hold a candle to Donald Sterling, whom Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer dubbed “the worst person in the world.” Not only do the Clippers have just two winning seasons in his 30 years of ownership, Sterling has been constantly embroiled in lawsuits in and out of the Clippers organization, besieged with accusations of sexual harassment, racial discrimination and wrongful termination. All his flaws are doubly magnified since he shares a building with the NBA’s winningest organization and one of sports’ model owners.
L.A. certainly isn’t the only place where a hate-hate relationship with owners exists. The British, nearly 250 years after the revolutionary war, now have some ideas about what’s life like living under the thumb of their former colonists. Manchester United and Liverpool, two of the most storied clubs in the English Premier League, have had American owners in the past decade. Let’s just say King George III is turning over in his grave once more.
We know that owners can be abhorred for various and complex reasons. Some are despised for their mettlesome ways. Some for pure incompetence. Some for just being bad people. There are also owners who became pariahs because they relocated their franchises, but that reason alone doesn’t typically make them universally hated. So with that caveat, here are our most despised owners of all time:
The “top” five: