There are few things the internet scrutinizes — or enjoys mocking — more than an honorary likeness of an iconic sports star. There was the statue of tennis star Andy Murray that made him look like one of America’s founding fathers. There was the uproar over a less-than-flattering courtroom sketch of Tom Brady. And, of course, who could forget the bronze bust of Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo which was unveiled at the Madeira airport last March?
While Ronaldo is widely considered one of the best-looking athletes on earth, social media users compared his bronze likeness to Stephen King’s famous killer clown, Pennywise; Beaker from “The Muppet Show”; and even the character Sloth from “The Goonies.” Suffice to say, it was a literal bust.
This sculpture of Cristiano Ronaldo is a great representation of how you look when you accidentally open the selfie camera on your phone pic.twitter.com/H8jjPeGwN3— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) March 29, 2017
And now, social media users around the world have fodder for a new round of incredulous comparisons, after U.S. soccer star Brandi Chastain was inducted in the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Monday with a plaque that looks even less like her than the Ronaldo bust looked like him.
In fact, Ann Killion, the San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist whose words grace the plaque, immediately took to Twitter, pointing out that it “makes Cristiano’s look perfect.”
“Brandi Chastain is one of the most beautiful athletes I’ve ever covered,” the tweet also said. “How this became her plaque is a freaking embarrassment” for the Hall of Fame.
Brandi Chastain is one of the most beautiful athletes I’ve ever covered. How this became her plaque is a freaking embarrassment for BASHOF. Makes Cristiano’s look perfect. pic.twitter.com/hta6c0cmSo— Ann Killion (@annkillion) May 22, 2018
Chastain herself gave a diplomatic assessment, saying, “It’s not the most flattering. But it’s nice,” the Associated Press reports.
But shocked social media users quickly piled on. One stated that the plaque looks more like Mickey Rooney.
Another compared it to Babe Ruth doing the Chrissy Teigen face.
Or maybe it looks like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft…
Or like the Emperor from “Star Wars”…
Or perhaps the face on Chastain’s plaque looks more like Jerry Gergich, a character from the TV series, “Parks and Recreation.”
One Twitter user observed that Chastain’s ability to smile politely next to this horrible likeness at Monday’s ceremony was a greater accomplishment than her World Cup win.
After scrolling through the swarm of responses that have been flooding social media since the plaque’s unveiling, one thing becomes abundantly clear: almost none of the reactions have been positive and almost all of the comparisons have been male. The few exceptions to that rule appear to be instances in which soccer fans are suggesting the plaque looks like a cross between a famous woman and a famous man.
The incomparable Brandi Chastain and her likeness (?) at last night’s Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame ceremony. To me it looks like a cross between Amelia Earhart and John Elway. pic.twitter.com/YoI2udt3rB— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) May 22, 2018
Much like the situation with Ronaldo, the inaccuracy of the likeness is perhaps all the more shocking when you take into account Chastain’s well-documented good looks and the sex-symbol status she cemented after famously stripping down to a sports bra to celebrate the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 1999 World Cup victory.
According to Yahoo Sports, the Hall of Fame has agreed to redo the plaque. This one, however, will no doubt be immortalized as one of the worst likenesses in sports history — and that’s saying something.