Football is a tough game of big, ego-driven men clashing on the field and off, so it makes sense that a number of players would find themselves among fans and peers most hated people in the NFL. When you're trying to win games, it doesn't necessarily help to be liked, and many of these players have found success despite being the dirtiest and meanest players in the NFL.
While some players receive hate from fans for their poor play on the field, like Ezekiel Elliott or Kirk Cousins, others have serious off-the-field issues that have made them the kind of players fans love to hate, like Deshaun Watson and Tyreek Hill. Then, there are the dirty players like Ndamukong Suh, guys you just don't want to play against.
So check out this list of the most hated players in the NFL, and vote up the players you can't stand, whether on the field or off it. Then head over and check out some of football's nice guys among the NFL's most likable players.
- Photo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Instagram
Antonio Brown has all the talent in the world but has burned so many bridges with his teams that he may have played his last down. His antics off the field such as frostbitten feet, helmet issues, sexual abuse allegations, and social media meltdowns have spurned even his most ardent supporters.
- Photo: DeShaun Watson / Instagram
Beginning in 2021, Watson has been sued by more than two dozen female massage therapists accusing him of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Watson has denied any wrongdoing despite settling 20 claims of sexual misconduct. Disagreements with the Texans' front office and multiple sexual-misconduct lawsuits kept Watson out for the entire 2021 season and led to his trade to Cleveland. Watson was suspended 11 games by the NFL for the 2022 season.
In 2021, Henry Ruggs was involved in a car crash, while driving drunk, that killed a 23-year-old woman and her dog. There's no one easier to hate than an entitled millionaire who drives recklessly and harms innocent bystanders in his way. Ruggs actions were so despicable, he was dropped by the Las Vegas Raiders and may not be considered an "NFL player" much longer.
Ndamukong Suh earned the reputation of being a cheap-shot artist early on in his NFL career. Suh has been fined numerous times for his on-field indiscretions, which include stepping on opponents and kicking them. His dirty plays have subsided to a degree over the years, but his dirty play still pops up every once in a while.
- Photo: Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons
Ezekiel Elliot may have every box checked for what it takes to be a hated NFL player. He's extremely talented, he was suspended for violating the personal conduct policy, held out during training camp for a new contract, and maybe to some the most egregious violation of all ... he plays for the Dallas Cowboys.
- Photo: NFL.com
In 2022, Araiza was named as a defendant in a civil case in which he and two SDSU teammates were accused of gang raping a then-17-year-old girl, who was under the age of consent in California, at an off-campus party in 2021. Araiza has denied the allegations, with his agent stating, “The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press.” Araiza's lawyer stated: “He had what we call the deep pockets of these three men, and I still think it's a money grab on her part on the part of Mr. Araiza.” The accuser responded: "I reported it the day after it happened. I was only 17 years old and I had no idea who Matt Araiza was.”