Why Athletes Are Good Role Models


Why Athletes Are Good Role Models Essay, Research Paper


Ever since the ancient years, we have admired athletes and the hard work that they do to

achieve their goal of winning. We idolize them and wish we were more like them. What

happens though when the realization sinks in that they are human too and that some of them do

get greedy and selfish? A lot of athletes are model citizens that you should really look up to, but

there are also some bad apples in the bunch that ruin it for everyone. Athletes can inspire young

people to work hard so that their efforts can pay off, but no one is pure and flawless. Greed

does take a hold of some players, but they shouldn’t be the ones we devote all of our attention

to. We should look at the positive things that people do. The media does not go around

reporting all of the good things that these people do, just the bad things and their mistakes. They

are only human just like the rest of us. Are these people safe for our children to idolize to look

up to? I think that the answer is YES!

If you were watching the news, would you really want to hear about all of the charities

that an athlete has donated money to? It would be interesting at first, but you would get tired of

it afterwards. That is why the media never covers anything like this. We all know that they really

don’t care about anything else except for a hot topic. The truth really does not mean anything to

them. This we notice in all the cases that the media jumps to wrongful conclusions, such as the

Richard Jewel case and the Olympic bombing and the TWA flight 800 that blew up over New

York. The media jumped to numerous conclusions that had us lost. Do you think these people

worry about what fund raiser Michael Jordan attended and about what Shaquille O’Neal did on

Thanksgiving for the needy? No. They are more interested in what color Dennis Rodman’s hair

is and what he wore last night at Excalibur.

I had to go through days of research to find out that Chicago Bears star Chris Zorich has

started a full scholarship at Notre Dame for inner city youths that get accepted to the school, but

can’t afford it. He plays for our city’s football team, and we have not heard of any of his

philanthropic efforts. He also has an annual food drive for the needy around Thanksgiving. I

read about that in a little column in the newspaper. Would he have been accused of theft or

assault, he would have had a front page article and the whole back page of the Chicago Sun-

Times to himself. Shaquille O’Neal bought over 1,000 turkeys and gave to needy families all

across the nation on Thanksgiving. I did not hear one mention of that in the news. They are

making us believe that all athletes are bad people with their propaganda. If they spent half the

time covering the good-hearted stories that they do the bad ones, we would have a different

opinion on the hard working athlete.

Michael Jordan has started a foundation that donates money for research to help

physically challenged children. He has been running up the tabs at Atlantic City casinos, but who

hasn’t gambled? We are not perfect. Michael may gamble, but he does his share of helping and

works hard for what he has acquired. Gambling is no crime, so then he is not showing us a

negative thing. If parents disapprove of him gambling, then they should outlaw it because he is

not doing anything wrong. Michael, and other athletes as well, is aware that he is constantly

being watched by millions and tries to act accordingly.

There has been a major controversy in the NBA lately thanks to Charles Barkley and his

claim in an interview that he is not a role model, but that is the job of the parent. He says that

parents shouldn’t be blaming the athletes if they can’t control their own children. Another person

that agrees with this notion is football and basketball star Deion Sanders. Barkley has paid over

$80,000 in fines over a period of two years. He is known for getting very aggressive and violent

at times. No one is asking Barkley to give all his money away to charity, but to do what other

stars do, realize that all these people look up to you and show some restraint. Nobody is forcing

athletes to be good people, we just want some of them to use better judgement.

One person that honestly thinks that ball players do serve a role as models for the kids and

should live up to it is Vincent Lamont Baker of the Milwaukee Bucks. He is the best all round

player on the team and one of the most versatile in the league. He is said to be the symbol of

what the NBA is really trying to sell: “good players who are even better people.” An excellent

role model for black youth is Dave Bing. He was elected into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1989 and

is now the CEO of Bing Steel, a firm that had $61 million in sales in 1991and was ranked tenth in

the United States among black-owned industrial and service companies. He now donates a lot of

his time and money to various charities.

Football player Orlando Pace sits with 6th grade children in their school library and helps

them read. His message was “Yes, I have had some athletic ability and talent, but studying is

what’s really important.” He also said that he doesn’t think of himself as a role model, but he is

doing the right thing because he knows that there are people looking up to him and he wants to

show them something positive. I couldn’t believe all of the things he does for children and then

says that he doesn’t think of himself as a role model. Most of these players are just doing their

job. But he realizes that people do look up to him and that is why he tries to set a good example.

If only all of the players would think that way, then there wouldn’t be any problem in the athletic


The most influential player that I have found is Mo Vaughn of the Red Sox. He does

community service and gives kids autographs. He has impressed everyone with his poise,

dedication, and his appetite for work. Vaughn takes the time to talk to groups of schoolchildren,

urging them to stay in school. Vaughn also plans youth centers to keep kids off the streets and

signs and sends get-well cards. He also uses the proceeds from formal autograph-signings to

fund cultural events that are denied to poor children. I wish I knew why I never heard about this

on the news or read about it. It would be different if Mo Vaughn got accused of something.

Arthur Ashe was just as influential. He was the only black man to win the U.S. Open and

Wimbledon. He protested apartheid and launched a $5 million fund-raising campaign and

questioned the lack of government funding for research of AIDS.

It is hard to think that any athlete is good with all of the headlines that you hear about

today. The media just covers the athletes that are acting like sports entertainment celebrities.

William Bennett, the Bush’s administration drug czar, is enlisting pro athletes to help him fight

the war on drugs. He assumes that they are held to higher standards of conduct than other

people because they serve as role models. Everyone is aware of the role that these athletes have.

We should not look at the inappropriate actions of few athletes. I was biased to believing that all

athletes are bad before I started doing my research for this paper. Then I found all of the good

things that numerous players have done to help others. Just because they want to help doesn’t

mean that we should expect them too because they are only human. We should not have athletes

as scapegoats if children are resistant and defiant. Those are responsibilities of the parents.

Just because there are some bad people in sports today doesn’t mean that we should generalize.

We have had some bad presidents also, but we don’t hate all of them. Some of them work hard

to contribute something to us just like professional athletes do. We just have ot remember that

they are human just like us and that Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman aren’t gods just because

they have a lot of money. They worked hard for it so let them enjoy it.

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