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Blondesjon's avatar

Are prominent sports figures role models?

Asked by Blondesjon (33994points) February 1st, 2009 from iPhone

It never ceases to amaze me how we put athletes and celebrities up on such pedestals.

They may be phenomenal at what they do but does that make them someone we should emulate in our daily lives? Does the fact she sings well or he throws a football well mean they know more than us about how to be a good person?

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13 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

If I tell you my grandpa, or John down the street are my role models, you really don’t have a point of reference unless you happen to know them.

If I mention I like how Peyton Manning handles himself in public or Ray Lewis’s positive intensity, you’re more likely to have heard of those people and have formed your own opinions on them. So you’ll agree or disagree, and we’d be more likely to discuss that. If my wife tells you she thinks Orlando Bloom is dreamy, you’ll know who’s she talking about.

Also, my grandpa doesn’t sell a lot of jerseys, bumper stickers, hats, or season tickets, so you’re less likely to know about my adoration. Sports is a very public obsession for most people, people take pride in being a fan through thick and thin, there’s a public relationship developed there, and you’re witness to it.

That’s all just a long way to say I don’t think celebrities and athletes are as likely to be true role models as the people who are actually in our lives, but they’re a lot easier to tie yourself to in a public manner, so people do.

It gives us something to talk about other than the weather ;)

Bluefreedom's avatar

I believe that there is a lot of youth in America today that look at professional atheletes as role models or would at least like to emulate them someday, later in life. Maybe they are aspiring to be famous and make lots of money, live a wild and crazy lifestyle, or they want to be the very best they can be in a particular sport. I just don’t know.

This is leading into my opinion that athletes, in many cases, should do a better job of maintaining their professional and private lives since they are being scrutinized by so many. There have been several athletes who have gotten into trouble, been the subject of prosecution, acted inappropriately, and set bad examples for teammates and made their sport look bad and this is not a way for a professional athlete and a potential role model to conduct themself, in my view.

I, myself, never viewed any particular athelete as a role model and I don’t understand the fervor placed in the adoration of athletes. I was never an athlete myself so maybe I’m disconnected in some way. Because an athlete may have superior skills and they are in the limelight much of the time, I certainly do not and will never intrerpret that to mean they know more than me when it comes to knowing how to be a good person.

aprilsimnel's avatar

People are fallible, from our parents to the deli clerk to the city council member to the football player to the President. Teaching children this fact, and that it’s OK to admire some things about a person and not others is an important lesson.

I do have one role model: Michael Palin. He is a consummate comedian, actor, writer and world traveler. I don’t know how nice he is at home, but on those things I’ve mentioned, I admire him greatly.

cak's avatar

Not in my house. It takes a lot more to be defined as a role model. My dad was one. He grew up very poor, had to drop out of high school to help earn money for the family. He realized how important it would be for him to get an education, at least high school, to be able to break out of the same cycle. He petitioned to get back into high school, where upon graduation, he went into the military and vowed to do better for himself, but never forget his roots. He was a loving father, a loving husband and loved his parents. He went back, frequently and always made sure he was there helping them with what they needed done. As he got older, he really got what life was about. He was a wonderful grandfather and friend to all.

THAT is a role model. He did his best, tried to always help others and lived a good, but fallible life. He wasn’t perfect, but he admitted his mistakes and worked to do better.

I was lucky to have him, as I was lucky to have a handful of really good role models in my life. None famous, most of them aren’t (or weren’t) wealthy. Their talents might not have won any awards, but it meant a lot to the people they helped.

That, to me, is a role model.

SuperMouse's avatar

As with cak, sports stars are not role models in my home, but I am in an area of the country where sports stars are considered better than the average Joe. If a high school student isn’t on some sports team, they are considered an outcast. A 16 year-old who has already blown out his shoulder? He’s a hero to many. Sad but true.

I think it is alright for kids to admire people like Lance Armstrong or Scott Hamilton who fought back from difficulties to be successful. I like the idea of my boys looking up to someone like Mark Zupan or Oscar Pistorius. Other than people like that, I am not the least bit interested in them seeing any athlete as a role model.

magnificentjay's avatar

sports and entertainment provides escapism for a lot of people. i dont think its much as them being role models but allow the everyday joe and jane a feeling of being part of something

….anyway, GO TARHEELS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blondesjon's avatar

@aprilsimnel…lurve for michael palin…

wundayatta's avatar

Of course they are rome models. All the kids dream of greatness, and these folks are great in one way or another. It has nothing to do with character, although we wish it did.

The good news is that parents and grandparents are also role models. They are the more influential role models, because they are there every day.

So while our kids want to be famous and/or wealthy and/or talented enough to become famous and/or wealthy, family members are the ones who have the most influence, followed by other folks they interact with daily (teachers, organizers, religious leaders), and finally, the glitzy glamour of superstars.

SuperMouse's avatar

Here is a story that fits perfectly with this question. Proof that athletes are not superhuman and are as fallible and subject to peer pressure as any 23 year-old.

marinelife's avatar

Usually not for me. As a child, I found the stories of Willie Mays and Wilma Rudolph very inspiring. I admire Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson tremendously. In all cases, it was more for who they were as people rather than the sports aspect.

varey14's avatar

it depends on what the person wants to be when there older like if a kids dream was to be an nfl player then they would base there decision of role model on the most influencial players or there fave player, my role model is dave grohl from foo fighters because of his total great-ness lol

Blondesjon's avatar

@varey14…lurve for the awesomeness of all things Grohl.

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