Monday, September 19, 2011

Pro-athletes set a mediocre example

More than half of the 41 arrests made in the past year in one very specific area were attributed to assault, disorderly conduct in public and driving under the influence. Sounds like the bad rap characteristic of an inner city. Or the more unruly portion of the National Football League.

It’s astounding that avid fans across the country rally behind their favorite football players like cheerleaders, don their jerseys and spew their stats in conversation while their wayward idols- players like Jermaine Phillips, Braylon Edwards and the notorious Michael Vick- gad about in their expensive cars, swigging alcohol from a bottle in one hand and placing bets on illegal dog-fights with the other.

Phillips, Tampa Bay buccaneers safety, was accused of domestic violence by strangulation, an appalling third degree felony in January.

Edwards was arrested on September 21, 2010 for a DUI in Manhattan. He was pulled over and asked to take a breathalyzer, and the dazed football player registered twice the legal limit of intoxication while operating a motor vehicle.

Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Mark Fields was arrested in August after a brutal altercation with his daughter’s mother. Despite a restraining order, Fields confronted the woman, threw her to the ground after choking her and threatened to kill her.

And the list goes on.

What kind of example are professional athletes setting for students? High school athletes strive to run, tackle, score and win with as much skill, determination and bravado as the pros. They model their moves on the field after the most esteemed players, watching every game with enthusiasm and concentration so they can ape their tactics and strategies. So understandably, the negative aspects of professionals’ lives-their bad drinking habits, violent tendencies, disregard for the law and disrespect for “little people” are somehow included in their idealized athletic persona. What can we possibly learn from them?

It's true; everyone makes mistakes, and everyone is entitled to. But those who are in the public eye, placed on pedestals and serve as an "inspiration" for youth should be more careful than everyone else. They are admired by the most susceptible portion of society; teenagers. Our fallible minds are in the middle of development; we're currently forging our identities and becoming the people we will be for the rest of our lives. Rather than idolizing politicians, law enforcement officers, doctors and teachers, the real movers and shakers of this world, we go all starry-eyed before irresponsible, over-paid football players. We sincerely admire them. The question is: Will be become like them?

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