Sports Figures are not Role Models

20 Feb

dan marinoEarlier this month, news broke that Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino sired a love child with a CBS coworker and paid millions of dollars to keep the incident quiet. Up until this story, Dan Marino had managed to stay away from negative publicity throughout his career as a player or broadcaster, branding himself as a family man and solid American role model. Unfortunately, the story finally leaked and his image is forever tarnished. But if this happened 30 years ago, The Inquirer would be the only news source covering this story that has nothing to do with sports. As a sports fan, I wish that was still true today.

With sports coverage 24/7 all over the world and instant media coverage, ESPN and other news sources are dying for stories to report, so once they get their hands on it, it will inevitably blow up. Its pretty incredible Marino was able to hide this from the public this long; the kid is 7 years old now! Lucky for him, this story took a backseat to other big stories in the media like the SuperBro, the Lance Armstrong crucifixion, and Manti “Catfish” Te’o.

Kids today are unable to look at a sports figure as a life role model. The media will eventually find something that will tarnish an athlete’s image, or the athlete will be caught doing something they shouldn’t (Phil Mickleson is a ticking time bomb). A buddy of mine, who is a big Marino fan, told me that this story doesn’t bother him and he loved Marino not as a life role model, but as a football role model who played the game the right way. My friend brings up a great point that Charles Barkley brought to light 25 years ago ”Athletes are not role models, your parents are.” With the media hounding every big name athlete these days, it’s virtually impossible keep a sparkling image of role model. In the 1920’s, Babe Ruth was the king of sports and fans of all ages adored him. If he were in today’s limelight, his partying and womanizing would have made Tiger Woods look like Jack McBrayer. JackIt would be awesome for sports media to take a step back and give these athletes some breathing room to live their lives. Unfortunately The Inquirer subscriber in all of us won’t allow that to happen.

56 thoughts on “Sports Figures are not Role Models

  1. “Kids today are unable to look at a sports figure as a life role model.”
    Though, unfortunately, many kids still do look to sports figures as role models; and since stories such as those in question here are the most prominently featured and ballyhooed, we see kids following (or at least condoning) those acts as well.

    • I agree, it is unfortunate indeed. Hopefully my kids grow up in an environment where they can look for guidance within the family, rather than outsourcing it to sports figures and celebrities who are more likely to show their weaknesses in the long run.

  2. DIS-A-GREE.

    Why can’t we have ONE, just ONE sports star say to themselves, “Hey. I’m friggin’ lucky to have all this talent and good fortune. I got here because I worked hard, but also because of the hard work of others (parents/coaches, etc). I’m not going to screw this up! I’m going to make something of myself not only on the field but off because my life is awesome and I want to give a little back, just by being a good person. Cocaine in the ‘off’ season? No way! I’ll give that pocket change to my favorite charity instead. Millions in the bank, a wife who has loved me since before I was famous, and countless adoring fans is enough for me!”

    Come on! Do it for your own family AND for the kiddos of the world watching! Otherwise, we’re just saying that morals and rules are only for regular people; if you become rich and famous we can expect you to behave badly and devastate others’ lives.

    My husband would disagree with me, but he’s wrong too.

    And I’m hangin’ on to Mickelson with all my hopes and dreams, so DON’T MESS WITH PHIL!!!

    • I like your stance and optimism Brandi. I see Buster Posey as a potential to fulfill this fantasy of yours, but the problem is he is just too plain to ever make a dent. It’s extremely hard for an athlete to find a balance of being popular enough to pay attention to, good enough to root for, but not truant. On the Giants, I like Posey and he is the Giants MVP, but my favorite player is Pablo because he is good and has some flair. That flair got him charged with sexual harassment (acquitted). My point is that players that lay low and try to be a good role model won’t be popular enough to reach the kids attention.

      PS You are not going to be happy with my post about Phil Mickelson in the near future, just fair warning.

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