9 Players Who Went To Play For Their Arch Rivals
In the world of sports, the virtue placed on loyalty is up there only with natural talent and drive in terms of desirable assets. And nothing is seen as more disloyal than jumping ship to go suit up for your former team’s bitter rival. There are a few circumstances that make jumping ship more understandable (like getting cut or released from your current team), but fans have little in the way of empathy when it means you’re playing for the enemy.
Here are the nine worst offenders.
He would have gotten a little higher up on the list had he been a better player and exercised better judgment by not marrying a Kardashian, but he makes the cut nonetheless. Lamar kicked things off with the Clippers in 1999, then left for Miami a few years later, then returned to LA. But with the Lakers. Now, the Clippers weren’t anything special during those early Odom days, and the fact that he did some time in Miami in between probably helped, but still not good.
9. Lamar Odom
One of many defectors who went from the Red Sox to their hated rival, the Yankees, Johnny Damon managed to pick the right time to do it, leaving in the offseason after helping the Sox when their first title in 86 years. And in fantastic fashion, coming back from a 0-3 deficit. So, he picked the BEST time to leave for the arms of another. And even as the afterglow has waned from that first victory, Unfrozen Caveman Centerfielder has still gotten a pass.
8. Johnny Damon
Having taken a page out of the Johnny Damon playbook, Ellsbury, after turning in a strong performance in the 2013 playoffs that culminated with another Boston ring, went south to the Bronx as well. He was offered $153 million for 7 years, which would lead most people to go to the gates of hell. Again, this was done immediately following a Red Sox Series championship, so he was sort of able to slip out without much fanfare. I think Sox fans are getting soft with their victories.
7. Jacoby Ellsbury
Ok. This one ruffled some feathers. After bouncing (at a career low point) from Boston, in 1996, Clemens left the Sox to enjoy a career renaissance in Toronto. He re-established himself as an ace with two Cy Youngs, then went to follow the money to New York. The Yankees. That didn’t go over well, especially when he picked up two titles while the Sox were limping along in limbo. The vilification continues to this day after he neglected to thank the Sox in his retirement speech, and then was proven during the Balco scandal to not only be an alleged PED user, but also sort of a moron overall.
6. Roger Clemens
Hey! Here’s one that isn’t Red Sox-Yankees related. Sorry for the consecutive trio there, but the bad blood makes for pretty compelling stories, even if they get tiresome. Jared Allen, the impetus for this list, just jumped from the Minnesota Vikings to their rival, the bears. It’s understandable, as the Bears have been just a QB away from greatness (or at least goodness) for a few years now, and it’s a larger market than Minnesota.
5. Jared Allen
This one’s pretty funny because, well, most of the stuff Terrell Owens does is pretty funny, so getcha popcorn ready. T.O. the flamboyant, and best receiver of the early 2000’s, went from San Francisco to Philadelphia to Dallas, meaning that his trip to Dallas ticket off both of his former teams, who are Cowboys rivals. But honestly, who isn’t a Cowboys rival. The switch was surprising given the his antagonistic behavior towards the Cowboys when he celebrated on their star earlier in his career, rubbing salt on the wounds.
4. Terrell Owens
In the world of college sports, any betrayal is likely to occur from coaches, because transferring is very restricted, and players are only around for a max of four years. So when Nick Saban left LSU to coach the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, there wasn’t much in the way of hard feelings. When he fell down on his face with his new gig and went running back to college football, he had his choice of teams. But of course he picked LSU rival Alabama. There aren’t a lot of things to do in Baton Rouge, but hating Nick Saban is pretty high up on the list.
3. Nick Saban
I’m ambivalent about ranking Brett Favre this high. There are huge transgressions here, and a number of mitigating factors. The transgression:
- He played for Green Bay, as the most iconic player in franchise history, then he left to eventually play for the Minnesota Vikings, a hate division rival.
- He was very old and not very good anymore.
- He had ruined his reputation by wearing Crocs when he took a photo of his penis and sent it to someone who wasn’t his wife.
- Farve was traded to another team (the Jets). BUT, he was only traded because he forced the Packers to trade him.
2. Brett Favre
Yay! Another Red Sox-Yankee defector. Now, as the legend goes, Babe Ruth was sold by the Red Sox for a half-back of Skittles, a broken revolver, and three purple yo-yos. Or something like that. The fact that he was sold, and not much was known about this temperament regarding the matter is immaterial. What matters is that he left the Red Sox for the Yankees and ruined a century of Red Sox baseball. That sentence reads as comically stupid, but that’s what Sox fans felt, and Yankees fans let the continue to believe. And since sports loyalty is in the eyes of the fans, good, bad, or otherwise, Ruth tops the list.