Should Well-Known Athletes Be Role Models? Can They?

Should Well-Known Athletes Be Role Models? Can They?

These days, the sports news seems to be inundated with stories of arrests, affairs, and asinine behavior by our “sports heroes.” I’m guessing this behavior has been around for awhile, but we never heard about the indiscretions before the boom of information technology. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that these guys are no worse than other people in our society.

There are many others who behave just as badly--and worse--but because pro and college athletes live in fishbowls, their mistakes and failures makes them objects of judgement and ridicule. I'm not condoning their behavior. I'm just saying maybe they should have never been on the pedestals in the first place.

Maybe they didn’t deserve to be there. They are just guys who happened to be good athletes, not guys who claimed to have good character. Whether or not they have a responsibility to be character role models is a whole different debate. I wish we could lift up our sports heroes as role models for our kids. But too often, we are instead having to explain their irresponsible behavior.

So what do we do? Give up on the idea that athletes can be role models? I don't think so.

I think there are still some really good guys out there, athletes who set good examples for our kids by being faithful husbands and loyal fathers, and who give back to their communities. Let's talk about them more. And not focus so much on the shortfalls of our tarnished heroes. What do you think? I'd like to hear who your favorite positive role model sports heroes are. 

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