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Professional Athletes As Role Models

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Are Today's Professional Athletes Good Role Models?

Everyday today's youth are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Some say teachers, firemen, police officers and a large response to that question is a professional athlete. Something that all these professions have in common is that they are all role models to children. Firemen, teachers, police officers have an easy job at doing this; they are after all the people that save children, teach children and protect children. But professional athletes on the other hand have a difficult task assigned to them when it comes to being role models. Professional athletes are not given an option as to be a role model or not. Just because they have a special gift does not make them have to be looked up to. Professional athletes are not good role models because of the things they do off the court, the false identity they put on, and because of the fact that in a lot of instances they are just an image on TV.

A role model is a person who is looked up to by a younger person because that person sets good examples and is an ideal model of where a child should be later in life. Role models play a big part in everyone's life. For some they are a parent, some an older brother and like I said earlier some are firemen, policemen and teachers. Athletes are considered to be role models to many people across the world. Professional athletes are people who can do something athletic extremely better than any other person. They can run faster, throw harder, hit further and jump higher than anybody else. This is what makes them professionals. They don't save lives, protect people from harm or do things that really have a severe impact on people. Professional athletes are just people with better athletic ability than others. It is a job for them to perform on a daily basis, whatever skill they have. They don't get paid to be role models, they get paid to run fast, throw hard, hit far and jump high.

The issue at hand is whether or not being a professional athlete automatically makes them a role model. There are arguments for both sides. Some say they are considered to be role models because of all the hard work they put in and the payoff they get, and another reason people believe athletes are good role models is because of the things they do off the court which, helps people. This is an important issue because not all professional athletes are prepared to become role models and many young people look to them to be their role model.

Sheila Globus is a person who thinks Athletes are role models and good ones at that. In her essay "Athletes as Role Models" she claims that Athletes set good examples for the children of today. They do a lot of charity work, volunteer to help kids get better educated and other means of action which help kids. Another reason she says athletes make good role models is because they work hard and have a good work ethic. This is something that children can look up to and follow in the same paths. She refers to Jackie Robinson in her essay to show how all is hard work paid off and made him become the first African American to play the game baseball. This is just one of the examples Globus states in her essay which show why professional athletes make good role models.

Sheila Globus states in "Current Health 2" "Many high-profile players work hard to be positive role models to children. They raise money for charities and act as mentors, talking to student groups and volunteering their time to programs that help kids stay off drugs and stay in school".(25) There is no doubt that athletes do these things in their free time. I agree, but not all professional athletes do so. Some professional athletes do this but a majority of them are out partying and spending the millions of dollars they make in their free time. A good proportion of professional athletes don't want to waste their time helping out others when they have their own free time.

Globus's argument is not valid because she is way too broad when she states many high-profile players in her claim. There are way too many high-profile players in this world who don't and never would do such a thing as volunteer time. If she were to give a percentage of athletes who do this it could be more valid. After looking through all the research I have done I have found more high-profile players who have done time in jail than have done for a charity. For instance, Kobe Bryant was recently on trial for the rape of a young girl in Colorado. Mike Tyson was in jail for physically harming is wife, not to mention biting the ear off of Evander Holyfield. Leon Lett of the Dallas Cowboys was put to jail for selling cocaine. All these professional athletes are people that kids know. They don't know the guys who are spending their free time helping a charity.

Athletes should not be role models because of the things they do off the court or field. They do way too many bad things that youth hear about which might make them want to follow the same path. According to Gary Sailes in his essay "Professional Athletes: Cultural Icons or Social Anomalies:" 16 players from the 2001 Super Bowl were involved in a crime one way or another. Those crimes range from drunk driving to assault to murder threats. These are things that everyone hears about. A child may not be a fan of a football but sooner or later he/she is going to turn the TV and notice a player going to jail. If athletes are supposed to be role models, going to jail is not a good thing. Society can't say professional athletes should be role models when they are getting put away in jail. This is why athletes should be looked at just like any other person and not as a role model to children.

Another reason why athletes should not be considered role models is because they put on a false identity. Ashley Brown in her essay "Are Players Role Models?" from the Ohio State U-Wire states "Although the media reports both the public and private lives of professional athletes, what we learn about those athletes is for the most part what they want us to learn. With some obvious exceptions Ð'-Dennis Rodman and Mike Tyson Ð'- most players attempt to portray themselves in a positive light when in public."(3) I agree with her on this claim. People really don't know what a professional athlete is like when they are not in the camera. We shouldn't have children admiring someone who puts on a phony face for everyone else. A role model is someone that is looked up to at all times, not just when they are in the public eye for doing some good deed.

Another claim as to why athletes make bad role models is because what they do is a job and has no significance whatsoever on a child. A child may have a favorite



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