Are Today's Professional Athletes Good Role Models?
Everyday today's youth are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Some say teachers, firemen, police officers and a large response to that question is a professional athlete. Something that all these professions have in common is that they are all role models to children. Firemen, teachers, police officers have an easy job at doing this; they are after all the people that save children, teach children and protect children. But professional athletes on the other hand have a difficult task assigned to them when it comes to being role models. Professional athletes are not given an option as to be a role model or not. Just because they have a special gift does not make them have to be looked up to. Professional athletes are not good role models because of the things they do off the court, the false identity they put on, and because of the fact that in a lot of instances they are just an image on TV.
A role model is a person who is looked up to by a younger person because that person sets good examples and is an ideal model of where a child should be later in life. Role models play a big part in everyone's life. For some they are a parent, some an older brother and like I said earlier some are firemen, policemen and teachers. Athletes are considered to be role models to many people across the world. Professional athletes are people who can do something athletic extremely better than any other person. They can run faster, throw harder, hit further and jump higher than anybody else. This is what makes them professionals. They don't save lives, protect people from harm or do things that really have a severe impact on people. Professional athletes are just people with better athletic ability than others. It is a job for them to perform on a daily basis, whatever skill they have. They don't get paid to be role models, they get paid to run fast, throw hard, hit far and jump high.
The issue at hand is whether or not being a professional athlete automatically makes them a role model. There are arguments for both sides. Some say they are considered to be role models because of all the hard work they put in and the payoff they get, and another reason people believe athletes are good role models is because of the things they do off the court which, helps people. This is an important issue because not all professional athletes are prepared to become role models and many young people look to them to be their role model.
Sheila Globus is a person who thinks Athletes are role models and good ones at that. In her essay "Athletes as Role Models" she claims that Athletes set good examples for the children of today. They do a lot of charity work, volunteer to help kids get better educated and other means of action which help kids. Another reason she says athletes make good role models is because they work hard and have a good work ethic. This is something that children can look up to and follow in the same paths. She refers to Jackie Robinson in her essay to show how all is hard work paid off and made him become the first African American to play the game baseball. This is just one of the examples Globus states in her essay which show why professional athletes make good role models.
Sheila Globus states in "Current Health 2" "Many high-profile players work hard to be positive role models to children. They raise money for charities and act as mentors, talking to student groups and volunteering their time to programs that help kids stay off drugs and stay in school".(25) There is no doubt that athletes do these things in their free time. I agree, but not all professional athletes do so. Some professional athletes do this but a majority of them are out partying and spending the millions of dollars they make in their free time. A good proportion of professional athletes don't want to waste their time helping out others when they have their own free time.
Globus's argument is not valid because she is way too broad when she states many high-profile players in her claim. There are way too many high-profile players in this world who don't and never would do such a thing as volunteer time. If she were to give a percentage of athletes who do this it could be more valid. After looking through all the research I have done I have found more high-profile players who have done time in jail than have done for a charity. For instance, Kobe Bryant was recently on trial for the rape of a young girl in Colorado. Mike Tyson was in jail for physically harming is wife, not to mention biting the ear off of Evander Holyfield. Leon Lett of the Dallas Cowboys was put to jail for selling cocaine. All these professional athletes are people that kids know. They don't know the guys who are spending their free time helping a charity.
Athletes should not be role models because of the things they do off the court or field. They do way too many bad things that youth hear about which might make them want to follow the same path. According to Gary Sailes in his essay "Professional Athletes: Cultural Icons or Social Anomalies:" 16 players from the 2001 Super Bowl were involved in a crime one way or another. Those crimes range from drunk driving to assault to murder threats. These are things that everyone hears about. A child may not be a fan of a football but sooner or later he/she is going to turn the TV and notice a player going to jail. If athletes are supposed to be role models, going to jail is not a good thing. Society can't say professional athletes should be role models when they are getting put away in jail. This is why athletes should be looked at just like any other person and not as a role model to children.
Another reason why athletes should not be considered role models is because they put on a false identity. Ashley Brown in her essay "Are Players Role Models?" from the Ohio State U-Wire states "Although the media reports both the public and private lives of professional athletes, what we learn about those athletes is for the most part what they want us to learn. With some obvious exceptions Ð'-Dennis Rodman and Mike Tyson Ð'- most players attempt to portray themselves in a positive light when in public."(3) I agree with her on this claim. People really don't know what a professional athlete is like when they are not in the camera. We shouldn't have children admiring someone who puts on a phony face for everyone else. A role model is someone that is looked up to at all times, not just when they are in the public eye for doing some good deed.
Another claim as to why athletes make bad role models is because what they do is a job and has no significance whatsoever on a child. A child may have a favorite
Athletes as Role Models
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Athletes as Role Models
Athlets have been lookd up to as role models for as long as sports have exsted. There is just something attractive about the thought of being in good physical condition and being talented in sports. But, are athlets the kind of people that children should be looking up to for direction and guidance? Many children often look up to the professional athletes as role models. In fact, in 1995 Sports Illustrated for Kids did a survey for kids who were ages 7 through 12 about who their role model was. The majority of the kids answered that a professional athlete was who they most looked up to. Only four percent of the children answered that their role model was one of thir parents. Because of today?s media, athletes are constantly in the public eye. Everything they do on and off of the playing field. Some professional athletes speak a positive message through their fame by demonstrating constructive ideas such as teamwork and commitment while they are on the field. Even off of the playing field some athletes set a good example by visiting children in schools, going to hospitals, or even setting up foundations and organizations to help the ill and less fortunate people. However, other athletes are not as considerate to the fact that someone may be looking up to them, some athletes are not concerned about anything other than the sport they are getting paid to play and themselves. These athletes are the ones that propose questions over whether athletes should be considered role models or not. A role model can be defined as a person whose behavior, example or success is or can be emulated by others, especially young people. Who would want their child looking up to someone who has been convicted of domestic violence or has a drug addiction? It is an argument of opinion that cannot be settled.
The side of athletes most commonly seen is when they are on the field. Athletes can be a very positive influence while on the playing field for many reasons. Teamwork is displayed in sports such as football, baseball, soccer, and hockey. It is where all the players working together and are all striving to reach the same goal. Anybody watching a game such as hockey or baseball can clearly see that the players must work together in both offense and defense to win the game.
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Role Models Athletes Playing Field Professional Athletes Public Eye Children Should Positive Influence Drug Addiction
This display of teamwork can be easily be reflected by anyone watching. For example, if a young boy who plays on a little league hockey team is watching his favorite professional hockey team play on television and he sees how the players are constantly passing the puck to each other and are working together to score, then he can display the same conduct at a later time during his own game. Dedication is another positive characteristic that can be displayed by athletes. It takes a lot of dedication to be good a playing a sport. Sometimes a game may not be going quite as well as expected and the team may be making a few careless errors, but to win the game the players must stay dedicated. The athletes have got to keep thinking positively and stay committed to the game. Motivation is another positive aspect of athletes. Players and coaches must stay motivated as well as motivating each other. It is very important for athletes to know that someone is supporting them. An example of motivation on the field is when a baseball player hits a homerun. The entire team steps onto the field and waits at home plate to congratulate their teammate. Once again, the simple gesture of motivation can be easily mimicked by a child watching. A some what different perspective of positive influences of athletes is the fact that if children look up to athletes then they will want to get off the couch and become active and stay in shape so that they can look and act just like a professional athlete. If a child admires a certain athlete that they see on television then the child will want to imitate that athlete and possibly join a sports league of some kind. It is proven that children who are active in sports are less likely to become involved in drugs and because they have a higher self-esteem. Also, obesity is a growing problem in today?s world and sports can promote eating properly and staying healthy. The Wheaties cereal company demonstrates this by displaying professional athletes on their cereal boxes so that children will eat Wheaties just like the professional athletes do.
The positive influences of athletes can also be seen off of the playing field. Professional athletes are well known for going out and helping with charities and fund raisers. Many famous athletes such as Troy Aikman and Lance Armstrong have started charities in their own names to help raise money for children overcoming cancer or other diseases. There are also foundations that allow sick children to meet their favorite athlete and allow the children to spend a little bit of quality time with the athletes. Some athletes will even take time out of their own schedule to go and visit junior high and elementary schools to encourage the students to stay in school and to promote drug awareness. The involvement in charity work and within school systems displays an athlete?s generosity towards other people and can also show the unselfishness of the athlete. By the athletes doing these acts of generosity, it shows children that it is acceptable to do something pleasant for somebody that they may not even know. Another quality that athletes can demonstrate off of the playing field is commitment. Professional athletes cannot simply walk off the field and give up when they make errors during a game or if they get discouraged. Although an athlete may not want to continue on with the game, they stick with it, they stay committed. Many children have a tendency to want to quit something if they feel they are not good at it but if they can see that athletes have flaws and are not perfect at what they do but that they continue to stay committed to the team, then maybe the child will feel like they too can remain commited to their own team.
There are many ways that athletes can have a positive affect on children or even any other spectators both on and off of their playing field. Qualities such as teamwork, motivation, and dedication can all be easily spotted on the field. Athletes can also help promote eating healthy and staying in good physical condition. However, there are also many qualities off of the playing field that can be viewed as positive influences for children. Some professional athletes are very active in charities and foundations for sick and less fortunate children and others visit students in schools. Either way, the athletes are demonstrating kindness to other people and that is a very good quality of a role model. However, there is another side to athletes that is not so generous and caring. Although athletes practice a lot of very positive manners, they are still humans and they do make mistakes. Some athletes can get carried away during a game and become very rude and disrespectful towards coaches, other players, and even fans. There is a wide spread of problems off of the field such as drugs and gambling that tends to get a lot of athletes into trouble. There are also problems such as illegitimate children and athletes committing crimes that are unfavorable in a parent?s eyes as their child?s role model.
Although there are many positive examples of athletes being good role models, there are also many negative examples. While on the playing field many players and even coaches often get very angry when things do not go quite their way. Players and coaches will yell and sometimes actually fight with one another with no respect for the spectators or their own teammates. Hockey is more commonly known for its violent fights and its overall aggressive features. Sometimes players will try to hurt their opponents by using the sport against them. For instance, sometimes in baseball, a pitcher might throw the ball and purposely hit the batter. An extreme case of this aggressiveness is clear when referring to the boxing match in 1997 between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. Tyson was so mad and frustrated during the fight that he bit a part of Holyfield?s ear. What kind of parent would want their child to go around biting other children all because of what they saw on television? Athletes will also display bad conduct by throwing equipment or punching and hitting the things around them. If a child were to copy this sort of behavior somebody near by may end up injured or hurt. There are also less obvious ways that athletes are bad influences while on the field. Sometimes players will cheat so that their team can win or even just to make themselves look good. In baseball, some players put cork inside of their wooden bats so that the bats are lighter and easier to swing. Some players or even whole teams will take money as a bribe to purposely lose a game. For example in 1919, the Chicago White Sox received money from someone and agreed to wreck the World Series. Actions such as cheating can even be taken outside of just sports. If a child caught on to their favorite athlete cheating then he or she might try to cheat in school because it appears to be acceptable. Just as the good examples can be mimicked by children, the bad examples can and unfortunately will be mimicked too.
Role models can set bad examples while on the playing field but their example off of the playing field can get even worse. One of the greatest problems among athletes is addiction. Some examples are drug addictions, alcohol addictions, and even gambling addictions. Although there is a drug policy for professional sports, many athletes use drugs anyway. Various professional athletes stepped forward and spoke about the wide use of drugs and it is estimated that about 20% to 60% of all professional athletes use some sort of supplement or stimulant. Drug use among young people in today?s society is already too high, now children are hearing about and watching their favorite team?s players talk about using drugs. Alcohol and gambling are also two major problems with athletes. Some athletes will get drunk and say things do things that they did not mean and then they can end up arrested. Getting arrested and being in trouble with authorities is not something that should be seen as acceptable to children. Gambling is yet another problem within the sports industry. Players often bet for or against their own team for large amounts of money. Sometimes the gambling can even go as far as turning into cheating by teams purposely losing games for money. Yet another negative factor to athletes is illegitimate children. This is mostly a problem within the NBA. In 1998, an NBA agent who dealt with paternity claims figured that there is a child for everyone in the NBA and for every guy that does not have a child, there is another player with two or three children. Children should not grow up thinking that it is alright to have multiple children with multiple people. Another problem that affects children is watching athletes skip college to pursue a career in sports. These days it is nearly impossible to find a job without some sort of college degree and the odds of becoming a professional athlete are about 22,000 to 1. Some people see that a professional athlete might have skipped college and went straight into playing a professional sport so maybe they can do it too, then they lose sight of realistic goals and the education needed to really succeed in the world.
Athletes can set an example wherever they are, whether they are on the playing field in front of thousands of people or off the playing field out doing their own thing. Athletes can be both a positive and encouraging role model or they can be viewed as someone who is not a good example for children today.