Two things: Don't lie for years about using performance-enhancing drugs, and don't get caught being tricked by an imaginary girlfriend. That's the lesson to be learned from the latest Nielsen/E-Poll of America's 10 most disliked athletes, which is headed by former cyclist Lance Armstrong and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
Armstrong and Te'o each appeal 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-based market research firm.
Armstrong didn't do himself any favors with his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“The Oprah interview hurt him; he came off as pompous, arrogant and unapologetic,” says Stephen Master, senior vice president of sports at Nielsen.
Apparently Te'o isn't disliked because he fell for a hoax, he is disliked because he played up the "my girlfriend died of cancer" angle for much of the season. Many respondents felt he wasn't as hurt as he let on, considering he had never met the person in question, and was just using that for publicity during the season.
“The story was just so creepy,” Master says. “And even when he knew he’d been duped he stuck with the story for a while, and he’d told people he had met the woman in person.”
Others on the list include Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace of the Lakers and golfer Tiger Woods.
You can see the complete top 10 here.