Sportsmen to have been booed – a lot


Adam Goodes, AFL

Goodes is reportedly considering early retirement after suffering extended abuse from the stands at AFL matches around the country. The consistent barracking began after the two-time Brownlow medallist outed a 13-year-old girl for calling him an “ape” in a match against Collingwood in 2013. The booing – which the former Australian of the Year believes is racially motivated – intensified following his war dance goal celebration toward heckling fans in May.

Quade Cooper, rugby

The New Zealand-born Cooper was booed relentlessly throughout the Wallabies’ 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign in NZ after perceived disrespect of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, having taunted him with a shove to the head when Australia won the 2010 Hong Kong Test and kneed him in the head in a 2011 clash. Cooper’s game appeared to suffer as the World Cup wore on, culminating in the semi-final loss to New Zealand.

Richard Hadlee, cricket

The champion NZ paceman copped it from Australian cricket fans in the 1980s, when chants of “Hadlee’s a w—er” rang out at grounds around the country. It was widely interpreted as a backhanded compliment because Hadlee was so good. Hadlee has since suggested the barracking began when he bowled a bouncer at a Geelong District team player in 1981, striking him in the head. He later suggested Australia’s education system was not up to scratch.

Wally Lewis, rugby league

Considered by many to be Australia’s finest-ever rugby league player, Lewis came in for considerable stick from NSW fans. There was barely a moment in which the boos subsided for Lewis. The 38-time Queensland representative once told the Courier Mail that “in Sydney they used to sing their three national anthems – Advance Australia Fair, Wally Sucks and Wally’s A W—er.”

Diego Maradona, soccer

Was at the height of his footballing powers leading into the 1990 World Cup in Italy, on the back of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup triumph and two Serie A titles with Napoli. The devotion to Maradona in Naples was so intense that many Italians in the south gave up supporting their homeland and cheered for Argentina, a sentiment not shared elsewhere on the Italian peninsula. Argentina and Maradona in particular were relentlessly booed throughout the tournament, as they ultimately fell at the final hurdle to West Germany.

Barry Bonds, baseball

One of the best home-run sluggers in baseball history, Bonds was also a central figure in the steroids scandal which rocked the sport in the first decade of the 21st century. Was indicted on perjury charges for lying under oath about his steroid use, although the charges were later dropped. Was described by former teammates as rude, arrogant and unlikeable. Opposing crowds did not think much of him either.

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