Special Report

50 Least Powerful People in the World

41. Hope Solo
Title: Athlete

Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo was one of the most revered female athletes in the country as of last July. Solo had just helped lead the U.S. women’s national team to its first World Cup victory since 1999, and had two olympic golds under her belt as well. Solo’s legacy may now be irrevocably tarnished, however. At the Rio olympics Team USA lost on penalty kicks to Sweden in the quarterfinals, breaking the streak of three straight gold medals. In the aftermath of the upset, Solo called the Swedish team “a bunch of cowards” and received a six-month ban from the sport. Solo also has a pending domestic violence case against her.

42. Kenneth Starr
Title: University president

Kenneth Starr is perhaps best known for aggressively leading the charge against then-President Bill Clinton for his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. While many have alleged the attacks were politically motivated, Starr insisted he prosecuted the president on moral grounds. Given recent events, Starr’s claim to hold moral high ground now seems dubious. As president of Baylor University, he failed to investigate multiple allegations of sexual assault on campus, many against the school’s football team, which is a major cash cow for the school. As a result, Starr was removed from his position as president and resigned from his position as Baylor’s chancellor just days later.

43. Donald Sterling
Title: Executive

Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team received in April 2014 a lifetime ban from the NBA. The punishment came three days after a leaked audio recording of Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games was published on TMZ.com. Sterling was also fined $2.5 million, the maximum fine allowed by the NBA constitution, and he faced enormous pressure to sell the team. Despite Sterling’s efforts to block the deal, his wife, who had co-owned the team with her husband since 1981, sold the Clippers to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in August of that year.

44. Taylor Swift
Title: Musician

Throughout her career, Taylor Swift has cultivated an image as good girl, one which has been central to her music and celebrity legacy. Part of that legacy is her feud with Kanye West, which began when the rapper interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards. The feud continued when West released “Famous,” a song claiming that he was responsible for Swift’s fame. In a speech at the 2016 Grammys, Swift disparaged the song and painted Kanye as a bully. Swift’s innocent persona was challenged, however, when West’s spouse Kim Kardashian West released a Snapchat video that revealed Swift had preapproved the lyrics to “Famous,” suggesting it may even be good marketing for the two artists. The episode has manifested on Twitter in the hashtag #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty, and it may have done irreversible damage to the singer’s image.

45. Tim Tebow
Title: Athlete

Like Johnny Manziel, another person on this list, Tim Tebow came into the NFL with prestige, promise, and a magnetic personality. Also like Manziel, Tebow won the Heisman Trophy as a college quarterback. Also he had dominant 2010 Sugar Bowl performance. Many NFL critics were skeptical of Tebow’s mechanics, and it appears there was merit in their critique. Tebow played two seasons for the Denver Broncos, one for the New York Jets, and was hired as a backup for the New England Patriots and finally the Philadelphia Eagles, but never played a game for either team. Tebow was let go for the last time in 2015 and now is considering a career in baseball.

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