Athletes as Role Models


Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Can we stop looking to athletes as role-models already? It’s absolutely ridiculous for us to pretend that all athletes, especially the great ones, are worthy of the praise we give them. You need proof you say? Well let’s start from the beginning and work to the present shall we? Ty Cobb supposedly killed a man, Shoeless Joe seemed to have a bit of a gambling problem, Babe Ruth was a drunken whoremonger, Mickey Mantle was as proficient at womanizing as he was at hitting a baseball, Michael Jordan may or may not have retired in the ‘90’s because of a mountain of gambling debt, Ray Lewis may or may not have killed a man before he found Jesus, Mark Grace had his “slump busters” (read as, he plowed fat chicks on the road), and Tiger Woods liked to sample from the IHOP menu from time to time. Come on folks, the list could go on for miles! Yet because men are good at sports, we tend to think that they have the rest of their lives in perfect order as well. Why are we so delusional?

Athletes are simply people with jobs. Yes, their jobs are decidedly more high-profile than my job or your job, but they are people with jobs all the same. How many of us lead a perfect life when we are not at work? I know I certainly don’t. If I might be biblical for a moment, I have a veritable lumberyard of planks to remove from my own eye before helping my fellow man remove the specks from their own eyes. Athletes are no different; they are just like you and me. Part of the reason we regard athletes as highly as we do is because we idolize them when we are children. We see the players on TV, we try to play the games like them, and then before we know it we are surprised to see their names on the news being tied to drug abuse or sexual assault. Somebody forgot to have a talk with us along the way.

How do we overcome this problem? We need to somehow explain to our kids that these athletes are just like us. They are not holy, and they are not God, at least no more than the rest of us. I’m not at all suggesting that we absolutely ruin sports for our kids. But we can’t let them go on thinking that these people are perfect either. I think a little honesty would go a long way here. What say you? Do you even think that this is a problem? Leave us a reply below and let us know how you feel.