Following the passing of Art Modell, the man Cleveland never forgave for moving their NFL team to Baltimore in 1996, we want to know: who is the most despised team owner in the history of sports?
We'd like to suggest four candidates for your consideration:
This chain-smoking owner of the Cincinnati Reds was one of baseball's most highly-visible owners — and not in the ways that would be conducive to a healthy organization. Schott made numerous racially-insensitive remarks and slurs over her tenure that once had her barred from operating the team between 1996 and 1998. Her policy of letting her St. Bernard dogs run free on the team's field, failing to "stoop and scoop," didn't help her case, either.
The miserly owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs presided over what many consider the team's "Dark Age." While many say that period has continued (no playoff appearances since the 2004 lockout) nothing compares to the Ballard years. Incidents such as the virtual-excommunication of former captain Dave Keon, destroying Foster Hewitt's broadcast gondola instead of sending it to the Hockey Hall of Fame, firing coach Roger Neilson — only to ask him back days later stipulating that Neilson wear a paper bag over his head, and selling the team's Stanley Cup banners that hung from Maple Leaf Gardens…well, maybe Leafs fans feel better about faceless ownership.
The flashy owner of the NFL's flashiest team may find people cool to him because of how 'popular' his team seems to be. While other owners are criticized for being too frugal, Jones is quite the opposite — throwing money at players as well as building the behemoth (some say monstrosity) Cowboys Stadium. While he never strays too far from the spotlight (or meddling with team management), Jones has helped his club (according to Forbes) become the first sports team to be worth more than $2 billion US.
The owner of the awful-until-very-recently Los Angeles Clippers has been accused in the past of keeping the team uncompetitive because he hadn't opened the purse strings far enough to produce a winner. Lately, he's been accused (in lawsuits) of acts of racism as well as heckling his own players from his courtside seats. Sounds like a fun boss.
It was Steinbrenner's way or the highway when he owned the New York Yankees, something manager Billy Martin learned. Five times. From chewing out staff publicly, to being banned from baseball for life (it turned out to be only three years) for hiring someone to 'dig up dirt' on one of his players, there was no love lost between many people who encountered 'the Boss.' He even traded George Costanza to Tyler Chicken (just kidding)!.
*Added by popular demand (you can't say we don't value the opinion of our readers)
Vote in our poll and have your say! If your choice isn't in our list, feel free to add your two cents in the comments and let us know what owners deserve a few tomatoes thrown their way.