Athletes Are People, Not Heroes

9 Oct 2001:  Mark McGwire #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals swings at a pitch during game one of the National League West Divisional Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks win 1-0 over the Cardinals. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Sam FogelgarenCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2010

This article was inspired by Kevin Blackistone's article on fanhouse.com. You can find that here

The world we live in is large. There are many people of numerous different backgrounds, thousands and thousands of cultures that sometimes never even clash. But the psychology of human beings are the same whether you are in the busy streets New York City or in the sun baked fields of eastern China.

People do things to try to set themselves apart from the pack. People try to try new things, just to see how the course of these events happen. This is better known as experimentation.

Some experiments work to perfection, others are disastrous.

People make mistakes. We are human, meaning we don't know everything and probably never will.

If people make mistakes, why can't athletes?

Think about this.

Let's make up a man. We'll call him Tom. Tom has been cheating on his wife for six months, and she then finds out. Devastated, she files for divorce. Tom loses custody over his two kids, who he can now see just once a week. With many things to think about, Tom doesn't quite work as hard at his job as he once did. He might get a demotion or even fired.

Maybe that's not the most realistic situation, but the point is, things like that happen every day. People constantly cheat on their wives, have substance abuse problems, do things they shouldn't be doing.

Life goes on.

So why is it that suddenly, when this happens to an athlete, the world of sports is bewildered, shocked and disappointed?

We were asking for it.

People are eventually going to have to come to the realization that athletes are not always heroes. In fact, it is extremely rare that athletes are the kind of people that we envision them to be.

As the title states, athletes are people. They are allowed to make mistakes. They are allowed to be idiots, jerks, anti-Semites, whatever they are, they are, and there's essentially nothing we can do.

So if these athletes continue to make mistakes, why do we expect a near perfection level out of them?

It's a great question. I wish I could say that that's not even the case, but people are so indulged with athletes and their lives (kind of like the complete over coverage of socialites), that they don't even realize that these people aren't very special other than they are talented when it comes to athletics.

Yes, we want their autographs, and we pay lots of money to see them dribble a basketball, throw a football or hit a baseball.

But we don't need to idolize them. After all, athletes are people.

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