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Role Models: A Bright Red Peel On A Rotten Apple

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Spitting, head butting, kicking, cursing, no, these aren't reactions kindergartners have in temper tantrums; these are actions of our "professional" athletes. Each day, millions of children look up to these athletes as role models. Little boys and young men, males and females imitate their every move. Their on-court heroics inspire many to practice harder everyday. Athletes, as the media depicts them, exemplify phenomenal strength and stamina that people should strive for. People want to fly like Mike, hit like Jr. and run like Deion. But, when the play ends, many athletes' true personalities are revealed. Just think what a little leaguer could be thinking when watching his role model spit on a umpire when the call is unfavorable? What does that teach the children? Many athletes don't want to be role models, but are forced into it by the media. "Professional athletes should not be role models. Hell, I know drug dealers who can dunk. Can drug dealers be role models too?" Charles Barkley once said about athletes as role models. Athletes are always in the spotlight, whether it's underwear commercials or endorsing french fries. The role models have an undisputed athletic ability, but all too many times they are only a bright red peel on the rotting core of the American role model apple.
Since the Greek sport competitions to the latter part of the twentieth century, appropriate behavior, which included achieving set goals, working for a meaningful cause and setting benchmarks for good sportsmanship, was commonplace in society. Athletes were noted for their acts of generosity and their civility that they displayed on and off of the field. Most of the time, sports figures were role models, who wanted to draw attention away from themselves, and redirect the energy into positive actions. Sports figures put to use their prestige to address multiple concerns facing society. When Don Drysdale appeared on the Brady Bunch to teach Greg that grades were more important than pitching on the baseball team, this showed that role models cared for their fans. Other athletes' intentions embroiled more worldly causes. The first African- American baseball player, Jackie Robinson, acted as a role model for all aspiring black athletes to follow. The late tennis star and first African- American to win Wimbeldon, Arthur Ashe, supported the anti-apartheid movement in ...

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