The Dilemma of the Sports Model
Here’s the scoop: your middle school class is being split into two groups for a debate. Usual literacy fare, right? Wrong. In our class, it turns into war.
The Issue: Should athletes be expected to be role models?
At first, I was rooting for the ‘no’ side; after all, athletes are human beings, super-human strength and speed or not. They make mistakes. But when my teacher put me on the ‘yes’ side, I started to see the light. Sure, it’s not like we expect them to be perfect, but it’s like that Spiderman quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Or whatever.
Here’s the breakdown:
Controlling the variables. That’s what people are doing when they don’t expect sports figures, or any celebrities at all, to be role models. In a perfect world, sure; the general population wouldn’t care and would even dismiss personal insight to your favorite sports player. But the fact is, how much time to do we spend watching them play sports or sing or dance compared to the time we go, “He had an affair!?!?!”
I didn’t even know about a man named Tiger Woods until the public learned about the shinky-dinky things happening in his personal life.
How many people would break down if they learned Tim Tebow was using drugs? I would, and I’m not even religious. Think about the little kids, six or seven years old, who look up to people like him. What’s going on in their mind when they see something like that happen? There’s stupid people in the world (well, not stupid really, just naive, and I’m one of them) that would probably start doing drugs if Tim Tebow started doing drugs. It’s not a perfect world.
The second thing: responsibility. Likewise as mentioned above, this section is all about morals. Whoever has read the Illiad or Odyssey (I haven’t) you must know that heroism is touching all aspects of the world today. An athlete or superstar should (but might not) have his goals set in mind before joining a major sports league: “You are going to be exposed. Everybody is going to see you for what you do, and who you are. You want other lucky people like you to be able to make it this far in the world. Don’t screw it up.” That should be their mantra before everything to do.
You think that’s a burden? Even normal people should have this chant engraved into their brains; after all, you are touching a group of people, albeit a small group of people.
Besides, in a universe of seven billion individual people and counting, how easy would it be to find an athlete who’s athletic and level-headed versus the athlete who’s great at basketball and uses marijuana? (Alright, maybe not in the scouter’s position so much, but hey; he extra effort should be worth it.) Even in school, coaches won’t let you play if you get two F’s.
The third idea can be proved by the clothes you wear. That’s right. Those skinny jeans that make your legs look slimmer? It probably wasn’t your idea. (Or was it? I never know who’s reading this post.) Anyways, your skinny jeans were trend-setted by Someone; and by Someone, I mean capital S-o-m-e-o-n-e. In America, who ever has a voice gets the say, and in America, it’s the pop-culture celebrities that get a say.
So when you say that celebrity sport star who’s using steroids isn’t influencing you? Who do you think made him (or her) do that kind of thing? How do you know that you are ever going to be safe from culture’s touch? Bad things done today is because they were presented as bad things in the past, and most likely by famous people too. (One dish of shorty shorts right up for this table of teenage girls.) Not that they’re bad. But they are probably getting the most sales in the clothing industry.
What’s that Justin Bieber forward again? Something like: “If Justin Bieber jumped off a skyscraper, 95% of the girl population would jump off right with him. If you are in the 5% who would laugh their heads off, forward this.” Not that I’m cruel. But I probably wouldn’t be jumping off the skyscraper with him.
The verdict: If you are a famous person, and lots of people know about you, don’t do bad things. At least, correct your mistakes. Like Albert Einstein once said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same results.”