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Are There Any Good Role Models In The Sports World Today? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Like it or not, athletes are role models. Though some athletes say that, just because they play sports, this does not mean that they have to be role models, children see them on television and want to be just like them. After hearing about some athlete being arrested or fighting with another player or even referee, a question arises: Are there any good role models in the sports world today?

Though there may be a few, in sports they are few and far between. Superstar Albert Belle of the Cleveland Indians is a good example. In past years, he has thrown numerous temper tantrums and been involved in more than one altercation. During last year's World Series, Belle was scheduled for an interview with a sports reporter. For no apparent reason, Belle threw a tirade using several profanities and continued until the reporter ran out. In another incident, Belle allegedly tried to run a group of trick-or-treaters down with his car. Albert Belle's behavior sends a message to his young fans that resorting to violence and being reckless can solve their problems.

Baseball is not the only sport with athletes who are bad role models. In the NFL a draftee of the Baltimore Ravens, Lawrence Phillips, admitted he assaulted his girlfriend. In the NBA, you can take your pick from players like Derrick Coleman of the 76ers or the Chicago Bulls' Dennis Rodman. Rodman is just one of many players to have been involved in fights on the court. These players are sending a message to their young fans, even though unintentional, that fighting is the way to solve problems and it is okay to, once in a while, throw a temper tantrum just because you disagree with something. These athletes, instead of being punished by their leagues, are in many ways being rewarded. Even though someone like Dennis Rodman might be fined for his actions, because of his image, he gets pizza and shoe commercials to earn him millions.

There are those athletes who are good role models, such as Mo Vaughn of the Red Sox, but the athletes who are bad role models overshadow the good ones. Mo Vaughn might do community service or sign autographs for kids, but this isn't what you see in the sports news. Instead, people hear about their favorite player being arrested or even sued. Because of these bad role models, young fans think a reckless attitude is the way to go. Unless there are more quality athletes who are good role models and receive the same media coverage as the bad role models, athletes such as Albert Belle and Dennis Rodman will continue to influence fans the wrong way. l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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