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Should Athletes be Heroes?

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Today, a huge part of our society is focused on the main aspect of sports. Sports are all over our televisions, our bookshelves and watching games in person is the best of all, if you can afford it. People pay a fortune to go to a game; I was lucky enough to go to a game. Watching a game takes my breath away, the finesse and athleticism is beyond words. But with all due respect, I feel as if many athletes are losing their integrity and honesty. There is all this news about athletes, but almost nothing positive to listen to. The drug use and "The Steroid Era." The drunk driving and the violence. Is this what the Wide World of Sports has come to?
Great players like Gilbert Arenas and Carmelo Anthony have been suspended from the NBA at some point, for something they did. With Melo, it was a DUI, and as for Arenas, it was a weapons possession charge. But older players, like Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and Larry bird have clean slates. Maybe the short-shorts and the high socks made all the difference. The NBA is changing rapidly. But, it's not just the NBA, the NFL also has many challenges to overcome. Michael Vick was a huge star and kids really looked up to him. He seemed to have it all together, but then he is charged and found guilty for dog fighting. What kind of role model enjoys watching dogs fight to the death? Who wants to wear that jersey? Then, there’s golf. Tiger, a guy with unbelievable talent never before seen in the sport of golf, tossed it all down the drain. Too many players today aren’t setting an example. The players back then did. Too many players today are criminals. The players back then are heroes. With a few exceptions.
“The Steroid Era” in baseball, is now shifting to all the other sports. ESPN’s Henry Abbott said, “The dark cloud over baseball is threatening to rain a little on basketball, too. [Rain, rain go away.]” ESPN’s T.J. Quinn’s article on Curt Enslave, a convicted seller of steroids, had to say, “Enslave says he has worked with ‘25 to 30’ college and professional athletes.” This is also quoted in Abbott’s article. If athletes keep this up, our kids will be watching a bunch of juiced-up players run the bases, or dunk on fifteen-foot rims.
Kids need someone to look up to. Some of the players I see as heroes are Chauncey Billups, Kevin Garnett, and others that contribute to their communities. They both have won the NBA’s Citizenship award. Garnett donated 1.2 million dollars to Katrina Relief Funds. Billups is really into charity work and helping the less fortunate, too. Those are the kind of people I look up to, the people that give back to their communities. But, it seems people are more interested in the crimes people commit, not the beneficial acts of kindness that should be awarded.

What is it that makes some athletes, while at the top of their games, think they are indestructible? Money? Fame? And what makes others able to manage the same circumstances with grace and humility? As a huge sports fan, I hope the moral standards of professional athletes improves and I hope that I can look up to more athletes as amazing players, and people alike.





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4norsemen said...
Jan. 24, 2011 at 1:12 am
The change we are seeing is not just a change in sports, but a shift in culture all together. I we focus to much on the athletic performance of athletes and don't put enough emphasis on the off field actions of these people. We value what they can do and make them feel as though they can say or do anything. It's one thing to be a great athlete but a completely different thing to be a great athlete and individual. Another aspect is the fact that information is available practically before it happ... (more »)
 
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