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Role models?

February 10, 2009

When I was ten years old, my life consisted of school, sleepovers, and Michael Jordan.  I was the biggest MJ fan, along with millions of other kids around the country.  He was at the top of the world, and was a proven winner, on and off the court.  The media loved Jordan, and he could do no wrong. I used to be out on my driveway for hours a day pretending I was MJ taking the game winning shot.  Nobody is saying he was, or is a perfect person.  However, he was the first icon in which race didn’t matter.  People didn’t look at him as black, they looked at him as a symbol.  After Michael Jordan retired, it seemed like all of sports role models took a turn for the worst.  This probably started when current TNT analyst for the NBA, and former perennial all star, Charles Barkley stated, “I am not a role model,…parents should be role models.”  As crazy as he is, he might be right on this one.  

      Professional athletes care about two things: money, and fame.  If you think that they are deeply saddened when they are hated on by the media, you are incorrect.  There are a few exceptions, just like everything else in life.  Some players might even love playing football.  When it comes to off the field issues, although their contracts are very strict about how to act, and having to get involved in charity work etc, if you gave professional athletes an option to help others, would they?  Maybe for tax breaks, but it is hard for me to believe that many professional athletes are all about “me”.  This is why it is so difficult to win a championship, and why titles are coveted in each sport, year in and year out.  

         When I was growing up,  over the last 10-15 years, it was rare to hear about pro athletes getting in trouble.  Whether this has to do with the media being more pressed for material these days, or players are actually acting up a lot more, it is hard to tell.  Regardless, the days of “I wanna be like Mike” are in the past, and they will stay there.  League commissioners can only do so much.  When a player gets paid the kind of many that they do, they become targets.  This is due to jealousy of the money and fame.  Many pro athletes come from lower class neighborhoods, in which they have flirted with poverty at young ages.  From being poor, to having millions of dollars creates tons of internal and external issues.  Lack of maturity and being very self-centered has led to the downfall of many athletes being role models.  

         You want a role model?  How about the single moms that work three jobs just to support her three kids.  How about the fireman that saved a little kid from dying last week?  These are the people that actually care about others.  A role model should not be defined by the spotlight.  Being famous instantaneously leads to a media frenzy.  The media is the root of all evil, and this has been apparent while kids begin to have empty walls in their bedrooms.


By Mikeyrolls

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