Leading Off: 3 polarizing sports figures in spotlight

Three polarizing sports figures in spotlight

The sports world is full of interesting characters, and three of the most polarizing are in the spotlight this week.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady – the guy who’s made headlines for his hairstyles and being married to model Gisele Bundchen – is being ripped in some quarters for his profanity-laced tirade at referee Clete Blakeman about the controversial call that ended Monday night’s 24-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

“That is (bleeping) brutal,” Brady could be heard screaming before ESPN muted the on-field audio.

If you were Brady, you’d be angry, too, because the Patriots would have had the ball on the 1-yard line with one more chance to win the game.

Speaking of improper behavior, Alex Rodriguez’s decision to walk out of his own grievance hearing Wednesday in New York won’t help improve the reputation of the New York Yankees third baseman.

Rodriguez, calling the hearing with MLB “an abusive process,” reportedly slammed a table, uttered at least one profanity and stormed out after the arbitrator refused to force Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to testify. Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game suspension for his alleged ties to the Biogenesis scandal.

In a statement, Rodriguez said the process is “designed to ensure that the player fails. ... I will not participate any further in this farce.”

If you’ve grown tired of athletes behaving badly, check out the new Foot Locker commercial featuring former boxing champ Mike Tyson.

No matter whether you love him or hate him, Tyson once again makes as much fun of himself as others do.

Tyson, who’s been paid handsomely to spoof himself in movies, is shown at Evander Holyfield’s front door, returning the piece of ear he infamously bit off in their 1997 fight.

After Tyson assures Holyfield, “I kept it in formaldehyde,” the spot ends with the two former champs embracing and Iron Mike flashing a smile.

– Tom Couzens

What to watch

NFL, New Orleans at Atlanta, 5:25 p.m., NFL: Will Saints quarterback Drew Brees have a field day against the disappointing Falcons?

Today’s poll

What do you think of Mike Tyson’s parodies

of himself?

To vote, go to

Wednesday’s results

Are NFL referees playing too big of a role in outcome of games?

• Yes, it seems that

way: 82%

always wins: 18%

Total votes: 210