Athletes as Role Models

Athletes good or bad role models? Professional athletes in American sports play a large part in the views of a good role model. Many children and young athletes look up to them as Heroes in our society. There may be numerous reasons that prove professional athletes can be true idols, but more evidence corrupting the idea of heroic athletes. Athletes are good at what they do; they work hard in order to make it in the big leagues. Working hard to get what you want is something to look up to. Though it is they taking advantage of that fame and money they obtain that is questionable towards being a role model.

For example Pete Rose bid against his own team, gambling on his game for the other team to win. He is supposed to be someone kids idolize; this is nothing to be proud of. No one wants their child to admire someone who lies and cheats the system while betraying others that trust him. Also the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League have had several players get arrested during the course of last season” (Professional athletes: role models for good or evil? ). Not something that today’s youth should be hearing about their role models.

These athletes have a rather divine lifestyle; with the money they are paid for making it to the professional level. There are many children, especially those from underprivileged neighborhoods, who wish to become famous wealthy athletes when they are older. (Professional athletes: role models for good or evil? ). What is sad about that is they aren’t playing because the love the game but for what comes with it all. Americas Professional Athletes are poor role models for our youth, society is overlooking their bad behavior, their crimes committed and misguided fame because of who they are.

With all the media of some athletes misbehaving or breaking the law comes up the question of whether they actually are good role models for these kids. There have been many stories of athletes getting in trouble with the law. Baseball players, for example, are using steroids including star players Barry Bonds, McGwire and Sosa. Is this what mothers really want their little athletes to learn? That it’s okay to do whatever needed in order to get ahead in life? Lying, cheating and hurting themselves on top of breaking the rules in order to succeed in something whether its sports or not isn’t ealthy for anyone to do. High school athletes more and more each year are choosing to follow the professional athlete’s example they have given students. This is creating an all time high for high school students with steroid use. “A 2004 national survey reported that 3. 5% of high school seniors reported using steroids, an increase from the 2. 1% back in 1991. ” (Athletes Shouldn’t Be Role Models). That seniors only, so imagine adding the other grades into the factor. These athletes who live under the influence of the law have a bad influence on these students.

Children as well look up to professional athletes as a guide for themselves in the sporting world. Not only do many athletes lie and cheat in the games by using steroids some also cheat the system by breaking the law. There are a few star players that should have a record but because of who they are they get off with a slap on the wrist. For example recently a member of the Bronco’s team was pulled over for speeding. Al Axford, the police officer who pulled him over, said he saw that he was intoxicated while driving and should’ve been sent to the hospital and gotten arrested.

He didn’t though because of whom he was to society. A week later he got pulled over again for the same reasons. This time he got let off with a fine. Young athletes should not be taught that if you have a lot of money and are famous you could get away with anything. Another sport star getting off lightly with seriously breaking the law is DeShawn Stevenson. In the year 2001 he raped a 14-year-old girl only getting put on probation. His probation consisted of giving motivational speeches, posing for photographs, and giving autographs.

While if it was an everyday citizen they would have “court-ordered community service which typically involves collecting roadside trash, digging ditches on road crews or cleaning public parks” (Athletes lightly punished after their day in court), and go to jail for sexual assault. It is wrong that because they are “famous” they don’t have to do the normal punishment. Also children and people in general see that as an opportunity to do the same or try to be an athlete so they can to get away with anything basically with a slap on the wrist merely because of their “career”.

People may argue and say anyone with money can buy out people and probably get away with doing something. The difference between them and these athletes is they aren’t serving as a role model for children they get frowned upon for it. While with athletes no one wants to be the one to mess up the season because of what they do. It is immoral and teaching the children of our society the wrong message about sports figures and how people should act. Children see these athletes as remarkable people because of the fame and wealth they receive by playing a sport well enough to be a professional.

When in reality they don’t see that people can live well by having a good education. People need an education in order to survive in life. Professional athletes are the exception to this in a way because of how much money our society has decided to pay them. Some people claim it is undeserved and should be going to underappreciated citizens with actual careers like doctors and teachers. The average salary for professional athletes within the typical American sports is more than the president makes (Professional athletes: role models for good or evil? ).

That is simply ridiculous to think that the president of the United States earns less money than our athletes. Many big league players have the audacity to complain about not making enough money for what they do. A lot of these professional athletes lost a lot of respect just as many of the fans have lost respect for them. According to Sandra Longuevan, mother of a youth fencer, professional athletes shouldn’t be idolized at all anymore. Instead she believes that the volunteers in our community because they don’t do it for the fame or money and are good people. These people are genuinely good all around.

There aren’t any stories on volunteers having some kind of scandal they have to deal with. While professional athletes do what they do for the money and the name they create for themselves. Which overall doesn’t seem that bad, they have to make a living, right? It is how they misuse what they are given that is corrupting them being considered as a typical role model. They take their “title” to their advantage. Young athletes are being taught that if they become like those athletes they can be just like them. So many athletes misbehave, yet still it’s as if we are condoning them within the games.

For example in hockey some players will get a little more aggressive. Many other sports as well if something doesn’t go their way it could become violent on the court, field or on the ice. “For some athletes, there’s a lack of impulse control,” said Robert Weinberg, who specializes in sports behavior and performance at Miami University in Ohio. ”(ABC news: Is there a double standard for aggressive athletes? ). Is this affecting society’s young athlete? Children seeing their idols getting angry while playing and nothing truly happens to them as punishment have had some kind of toll. We’re beginning to see the trickle-down effect [from adults’ misbehavior] … where children that are involved are becoming part of the bad behavior,” Engh says. “Far too often, we tell [kids] it’s OK to cheat in order to win, to taunt the players on the other team, to criticize officials. ” (ABC news: are youth athletes becoming bad sports). It is not okay for these kids to think they can get away with bad sportsmanship and behavior because they are good at the sport they play. These athletes are babied; they throw temper tantrums and end up getting what they want in the end.

Mothers do the same to their toddlers; young kids cry and get what they want in order to behave well. It seems as if the professional athletes during a game or not gets that same treatment. Looking at how some child athletes have behaved on the field compared to their parents and the professional athletes it’s a direct correlation to their poor behavior. “As a teen hockey player from Illinois pleaded guilty ….. for giving a rival player a paralyzing injury, youth sports officials say violence among adults at youth events appears to be affecting the kids. (ABC: Are Youth athletes becoming bad sports) When parents act badly at a game usually if something doesn’t go well for the child they will mimic what their parents had done. It goes with professional athletes as well Children look up to their parents as guides as well as their idols, or sports stars. They see an athlete misbehaving over something and it happens to that child. What are they going to do? Most of the time act on it in a similar way. It is causing a lot of issues with the concept of good sportsmanship. Good sportsmanship seems to be falling out of fashion, youth sports officials note, as overaggressive adults prowl the sidelines and grandstands screaming at officials, coaches and players”(ABC: Are Youth athletes becoming bad sports). This isn’t something that should be spread any more so then it has. Professional athletes don’t make good role models with their poor behavior and the influence it has on kids. These people only play a sport in front of an audience. It doesn’t even seem to be for the love of the game for most players anymore.

Many Professional athletes now play for the lifestyle that comes with it. Children shouldn’t want to be a sports star because of the fame but because they love the game. Athletes today are so misguided by the fortune and fame they seem to forget about the whole reason they are getting paid. Not all of the athletes are this way, but with the scandals going on with all these stars it is hard to tell anymore. It is really sad seeing American sports turn into just another, over advertised way to make money, event that happens a few months out of each year.

In a poll fox news did in the year 2007 56% of people said that the bad image of these professional athletes is due to more stories on their poor choices against the law. 27% of the same people who did that poll say that it isn’t that there are more stories on them but there are more crimes and athletes misbehaving. (Fox news athlete’s polls) It seems to be a controversial topic on whether the athletes are actually getting worse as time progresses or if society is now more public about the athlete’s misguided fame. Either way it is sliced professional athletes have a negative effect on society’s views of good role models.

American sports fame is merely advertising and money that is made in order to keep these sports going every year. Most of the drama within sports stars seems to stick within the Americanized sports football, basketball, baseball, and hockey sometimes. There are hardly any news stories on soccer players, swimmers, golfers, or any other sport. Michael Phelps most recently was in the news for something illegal. “He lost a major sponsor, and then he got suspended from competition for three months by USA Swimming, the latest fallout from a photo that showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe. (Los Angelis Times: Michael Phelps suspended 3 months by USA Swimming). The difference with him and the other sports legacies are he owned up to it and accept whatever punishment he should’ve gotten. He didn’t use his popularity or him being an Olympic swimmer as an excuse to get out of his wrongdoing. Tiger Woods’ also had a couple stories in the papers. He then took that negative limelight and changed made himself a better person. The articles on him were a wakeup call so he changed his ways. Those are people that should be looked up to not people who do crime after crime and misbehave constantly.

Professional athlete’s poor decision making being overlooked and ignored isn’t a good thing to be teaching young athletes. Not only the bad behavior but the way they handle themselves when something happens. The lesson it is teaching these children is corrupt and shouldn’t be something to idolize. Athletes shouldn’t be using their professional title as a fall back for their decisions. It shows a bad example for the children. Also there fame seems to be a lost cause when they are no longer playing for the love of the game.

What is this showing the children? Being a professional athlete isn’t supposed to be a way out of life. Americanized sports and their players need to clean up their acts in order to be considered true idols for these children.

Work Cited Axford, Al. Personal Interview. 20 February 2010. Fox News. “Sports. ” PollingReport. com. 22 Aug. 2007. 21 Feb. 2010 . James S Michael. Zeimer, Tracy. “ABC News: Are Youth Athletes Becoming Bad Sports? ” ABC News: Online news, breaking news, feature stories and more. 20 Aug. 2000. 21 Feb. 2010 . Las Angeles Times. Michael Phelps suspended 3 months by USA Swimming – Los Angeles Times. ” Los Angeles Times – News from Los Angeles, California and the World. 6 Feb. 2009. 01 March. 2010 . Longuevan, Sandra. Personal Interview. 12 March 2009. McCarthy, Michael. Athletes lightly punished after their day in court. 4 May 2006. 28 Feb. 2010 . Mojtabai, Farzin. Athletes shouldn’t be role models. 10 May 2006. 01 March. 2010 . Robertson, Ryan. “Professional athletes: role models for good or evil? | The Auburn Plainsman. ” The Auburn Plainsman | A spirit that is not afraid. 31 Jan. 2007. 28 Feb. 2010

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