Role Model? Seriously?

The shirt says it all

I have never pretended to be a fan of Ben Roethlisberger, but he recently brought up a very good point. No, not the idea that he wants to be a role model and the fact that he likes it when kids wear his jersey, but instead he brings up a more dubious question, should athletes be considering role models at all? What happened to the athletes like Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley? You know, the ones who had absolutely no desire to be a role model and ultimately did everything in their power to back up that notion. When AI did something outlandish, in bad taste, or all in all considered out of the realm of social norms fans didn’t care. When Charles Barkley said that he didn’t want to be a role model the fans laughed. Do you know why? It was expected. From the day they were introduced to us they never pretended to be something they weren’t, and never made any apologies for that. Sports fans didn’t care because they were never going to mistakenly cast these types of players in that light, and that was okay.

Times have changed, or maybe the idea of the athlete has changed, but either way the sportsperson who probably left college early to play a professional sport that we happen to like now wants the youth of America to view him in the same light that they should be viewing their teachers, their parents, etc. Sports personalities aren’t the main culprits of ruining children’s minds. Let’s keep in mind the fact that we live in a society that catapults the Jersey Shore cast to millionaire status, makes Miley Cyrus a world icon, and falls in love with a song that is basically a guy singing about two colors for four minutes. Not exactly rocket science Wiz Khalifa. Maybe society is getting dumber or maybe the crop of good role models is getting smaller and smaller, or most likely both, but no matter what, the sports stars should not be next on the list of people to look up to.

I’m not an idiot, people are going to continue to want to make these guys their role models, and so for them I simply offer some guidelines in an effort to help them choose wisely. When propelling the athletes that you watch on TV to role model status there are a few things you have to consider. How will I be perceived by being a fan of this player? If it doesn’t matter to you what other people feel or say when the topic of your newfound heroes past comes up during a lull in the action than feel free to explore the fan-path that you see fit. How important is my new role models personal/private life? If you are in the group that feels that a man’s private life has no bearing on whether you can root for him than more power to you. The line is supposed to be black and white. When he gets onto the field of play the thought of what he did personally should make no difference. C’mon, we live in America, when is the line ever as simple as that? It’s not like people are going to forget that a guy bankrupted a baseball team while simultaneously supposedly recommending performance-enhancing drugs to players to increase revenue and then go ahead and elect that man President. What’s that? That happened? Whoops!

There was a time when it was safe to believe in a sports star. Before Tiger hit a tree, before Brett Favre took pictures of himself in the buff, before Mike Vick decided to run a dog fighting ring, before big Ben ran around with underage, unwilling girls (allegedly), before O.J. was acquitted of killing his ex-wife and her new husband and then subsequently wrote a book entitled “If I Did It”, before Michael Phelps decided to smoke a bong, before Ray Carruth shot into an occupied vehicle, before Mike Tyson existed, before Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco, Bret Boone, Jason Giambi, Mike Piazza, David Ortiz, Rick Ankiel, Garry Sheffield, Kevin Brown, Eric Gagne, Sammy Sosa, Troy Glaus, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Lenny Dykstra, Dave Hollins, Roger Clemens, and so on and so forth were implicated or admitted to taking steroids. The only problem is that the time before is so far back that many people don’t remember it even existing, and unfortunately I am fresh out of DeLoreans.

Love the column? Hate the column? Feel free to let me know, or send me a comment on twitter, @adamholman225

  1. OMG i used a picture of him wearing that same shirt in a blog post during the summer. Totally agree man, these guys aren’t role models.

    • Haha, awesome! Sidenote, I’m jealous that you get to watch the Canucks on a daily basis. I am a Flyers fan, but the ‘nucks are my western conference team.

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