Over the years, from before the influx of championships through today, the sports teams of Boston have seen their fair share of polarizing figures. While there has been a lot to celebrate and remember, especially in the past 20 years, there has also been a lot to look down upon and try to forget. The Guy Boston Sports Twitter account (@GuyBostonSports) sent out a tweet the other day that got me thinking: who are some of the most-hated athletes that have come through Boston in recent memory?
In no particular order:
This one would likely rank on the lower end of this list, mostly because he was such a non-factor that many didn’t care enough to hate him. Jordan Richards was drafted in the 2nd round (64th overall) by the Patriots in the 2015 draft. This selection was thought to be a bit of a reach, with many experts projecting Richards to fall to the later rounds. He was unable to live up to the expectations of a second-round pick, severely underperforming in each year of his Patriots’ career, never totaling more than 30 tackles in a season. He was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in 2018, before ending up back on the Patriots in 2019, much to the dismay of fans. Though his stints with the Patriots were unsuccessful, he is still just 27 years old and is looking to get back on his feet with the Baltimore Ravens.
David Price was hated by (some) Boston fans for both his on-field performance and his off-field drama, though only the latter was warranted. Signed to a seven-year, $217 million contract (a Red Sox record) prior to the 2016 season, Price came in with sky-high expectations. He struggled out of the gate with an 8-6 record with an ERA of 4.64 but turned it around in the second half to finish with a record of 17-9 and an ERA of 3.99. However, first impressions are strong in Boston. Despite maintaining an ERA under 4 for his Red Sox career, fans were reluctant to forget about his first few months, holding it over his head for four years.
An altercation with broadcaster and Red Sox legend Dennis Eckersley soured his relationship with fans even more and was ultimately the last straw for many around Boston. What followed was a shaky relationship with the media, though Price got the last laugh after his MVP-deserving performance in the 2018 World Series. Price was seemingly a throw-in to the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, ending his tenure with the Red Sox. Aside from what the fans and media think, other players have always raved about how he is a great teammate.
Well, you know. And if you don’t, you live under a rock.
Like Price, Pablo Sandoval never seemed to satisfy the fans of Boston. After three World Series titles and a WS MVP in San Francisco, Sox fans were hoping for his postseason success to help carry the Red Sox to a championship. Instead, the Red Sox got an always-overweight, often-injured Sandoval, who played in just 161 games over the course of the three seasons. Fans were upset with Sandoval’s reluctance to get into shape and the liability he was on defense, and the Red Sox eventually paid Sandoval millions of dollars to go away.
Last, but certainly not least. Arguably the most hated Boston athlete of all time, Kyrie Irving managed to get a whole fan base to hate him in just two years. It’s not often that a franchise trades for an All-Star, NBA champion, #1 draft choice and that player causes more harm than good. Although his tenure with the Celtics was riddled with injuries to himself and others, having he lost his best teammate minutes into his first season with Boston, it isn’t an excuse for Irving failing to lead the Celtics to much success.
The Celtics’ best play often came when Irving was sidelined, coming within one game of the NBA Finals in 2018 after Irving underwent a knee procedure that kept him out for the rest of the season. Much like David Price, Irving also had a tumultuous relationship with the media. He often answered questions vaguely, put down teammates, and made promises he couldn’t fulfill. Irving took his holier-than-thou attitude and joined his best friend Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, where he has conveniently avoided playing in Boston. Do with that information what you will.
Photos: (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe), (Stew Milne/USA Today), (Getty Images), (George Rizer/The Boston Globe), (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe), (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)