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Should Athletes be referred to as Role Models?

Are athletes role models? Many of them maintain that they should not be looked upon as role models. However, society on the other hand calls upon athletes to be role models to America’s youth. Therefore, athletes become role models to thousands and thousands of children, and they must accept that responsibility and act in the proper manner.
Yet many of today’s athletes take their stardom for granted. They constantly get into run-ins with the law. Players like Charles Barkley spit at and hit people. Bryan Cox of the Chicago Bears has given the finger to fans on a few occasions while playing in the NFL. These actions, along with the run-ins with police and then seeing the light discipline that is rendered by the leagues, can have an impact on the children of today.
When a child sees Michael Irvin arrested for drug possession or Steve Howe testing positive for illegal substances, and then they see these same people walk away from their crimes unscathed, they want to act in a similar fashion. They feel that it is okay to take drugs or beat your wife or girlfriend because athletes get away with it.

Yet these athletes need to remember that while they perform at such high levels on the field, their actions in terms of on-the-field sportsmanship and off-the-field conduct have a profound impact on society.

I am not advocating that you become a hermit upon attaining stardom in order to avoid confrontation. I am just asking for athletes to exercise better judgment and to realize the deep impact that their actions have on kids. For example, how many times have athletes heard that a child’s dream came true when he or she met them? Hundreds, even thousands of times. That being the case, how can an athlete say that he is not a role model.
Perhaps an even better argument from the athlete’s point of view is that he should not be a role model. Perhaps that may be so, but society has dictated that the athletes of today are more than just players running around and making money.

The debate about whether athletes are role models is seemingly never-ending since arguments can be made for both points of view. Maybe athletes should act the way they would want their children to act before doing some of the things that they do by getting in trouble all of the time. The perception of the athlete would be looked at in a higher regard if they just would act with class instead of going out and doing whatever they want just because there rich and famous athletes. I’ll leave you with one final thought. Athletes may choose not to be role models, but their career choice demands it from them.

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