Race Has Nothing to Do With Why Michael Vick, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant Among Most Disliked Athletes

Race Has Nothing to Do With Why Michael Vick, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant Among Most Disliked Athletes What makes an athlete unlikeable?

A column in a recent edition of the Orlando Sentinel claims that black athletes are more disliked than other groups because of the color their skin.

The discussion was sparked by “Q Scores,” a data survey that compiled a list of the top 10 most dislikable athletes. The first six were black.

Q Scores — created by the Q Scores Company in 1964 to measure the appeal of TV shows, celebrities and people in the public eye – ranked the athletes’ likability by polling 2,000 men and women across America.

There’s no doubt that some of these people actually hate athletes based on race, but it’s such a small group that it should not factor into their Q Scores.

The author of the column, Shannon Owens, finds it strange that LeBron James is one of the least likable athletes (No. 6) while Brett Favre is the eighth most likable athlete. The Favre ranking is puzzling, but there are much bigger factors than race at play.

First, most of the athletes with the highest likability are either historically great athletes (Michael Jordan ranks No. 1, Arnold Palmer is at No. 9) or current athletes known for having almost flawless public lives (Peyton Manning at No. 3, Steve Nash at No. 4). Three sports stars on the list are American Winter Olympics medalists. 

But the least likable list is made up of two different kinds of hate. The first is based on an athlete’s actions while the second is based on his or her talent.

Michael Vick is listed as the least likable athlete because he was found holding dog fights on his property and people love dogs much more than they love Vick. Tiger Woods is No. 2 on the list because, well, do we really need to rehash everything that he did last year? Ben Roethlisberger is listed as the eighth least likable athlete because of his recent sexual assault accusations.

Kobe Bryant, for example, is on the list for a completely different reason. Even people who hate him for his sexual assault case have to admit that Bryant is a gifted athlete. And that talent is the biggest reason why he’s so unlikeable.

Some people may hate Bryant because of his race, but more people dislike him because of what he can do on the basketball court. Any fan of a team the Lakers have beaten in a playoff round is sure to have some animosity toward Bryant. His off-the-court misconduct also is a factor, but his success (maybe despite the charges) is a bigger influence in what people think of him.

Do you think race was a factor in the Q Scores list to determine athletes’ likability? Share your opinion below.

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