Are Athletes Good Role Models?

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Everyone can agree that athletes are some of the most influential people, but does that make them role models? As some athletes have been idolized, others have been convicted of various crimes, such as doping, abuse, substance abuse, and even murder. That raises the question, can we trust athletes to be morally good? Of course we can, but there are few that fit into that category of morally good, famous athlete, and publicly respected and adored. Bottom line, athletes should not be the leading role models that shape the life and future of their followers.

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With so many athletes to look up to, do kids unconsciously select those that have more of an outgoing and rebellious personality, or those that have a fun while following-the rules personality? As Martin J. Greenberg said, children will change who they like as role models very quickly, if they find out that they are actually a bad person. His 7-year-old-grandson confirmed this when his favorite baseball player was convicted of a crime that put him off the field. In response, his grandson said that he doesn’t think that his former favorite baseball player is still his favorite. This just shows how children look at how cool a player is. When they learn that their favorite player is actually bad, they will pick a new favorite player. So why are athletes still seen as role models, even though they are so very expendable for children?

Other children just do not care if their favorite player is a criminal. There have been some cases where basketball superstars were charged with serious crimes, but the children still wore their jerseys. In the case of Kobe Bryant, teens voted him to be the most popular male athlete, even though he was charged with a felony while the voting was going on. The media uses teens that do not care about the crimes of their role model athletes to make money and spread fake news. This fuels their want to be like their role model, just because they only hear the good, and not the bad. In the end, does the media decide who is a role model and who isn’t one?

Maybe there are ways athletes could be trained to be great role models. Some athletes try to make an impact in the community and connect to their followers. Sure, making a speech about autism awareness to a group of young children is not exactly classified as cool, it still makes an impact. The only problem there is that many athletes think that being cool makes the more money than giving speeches and managing summer camps for the needy. Bottom line, there is no way for every athlete to be a good role model.

In conclusion, the athletes we adore are far from perfect. As a matter of fact, no one is. Now we ask ourselves, if no one, not even athletes, is perfect, who or what should be the standard to be a role model? By excluding those athletes that are below the standard, we have a select few of athletes and other people that have the potential to be role models. The solution to our role model problem is to stop letting the media only feed good information about the athletes to the children that are watching. In the end, athletes can’t be trusted enough to be reliable role models to those looking up to them.

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Are Athletes Good Role Models?. (2020, May 13). Retrieved February 7, 2023 , from

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