Throughout time, kids have always viewed professional athletes as heroes or in some rare cases, gods amongst men.
Everyone knows that story that has been told time after time, you know, the one where the kid idolizes his favorite athlete from his first shoot of the basketball to the time he is stabs a whole city in the back...right?
Well OK, they are not all that extreme, but you get my point. Anyways, as far as kids idolizing athletes go I am all for it, but with a precaution or two. I think looking up to the best people in any industry is a good idea. Wait, let me rephrase that. I think that looking up to the best professional in any industry is a good idea, not necessarily the person that they are though.
We have seen this time and time again; great athletes fall victim to off-field incidents.
We just have to accept that being in the public eye does not qualify athletes, by default, to be good people.
And that is fair; they are humans, albeit freakishly athletic humans, but still humans. The funny thing is, from my experience I don’t expect athletes to be great people, but before you get in my face about this let me explain.
I am a Lakers, Falcons, and Steelers fan, and proud of all three. You can probably see why I have this dysphemistic view about athletes as people now, but do any of these off-field incidents prevent me from liking these athletes as players?
No, and I can’t stress this enough.
If you view the three athletes I am referring to, Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick, and Ben Roethlisberger, just by their accomplishments on the field, or court, they are amazing. They should be idolized for being some of the best of the best, however, not one of these humans (sorry Kobe) should be looked up to as a person. Not a single one. Whether you are convicted or not, you have put yourself in an idiotic position and that is not something that good people are suppose to do.
Now I am an avid believer, as you can see from above, that people should be judged in two categories: personal life and professional life. This is one of the reasons why I am so against the whole Roger Goodell era, or as I like to call it, the Nerfing of the NFL era.
His ridiculous conduct policy is one of the most ridiculous policies of all time. Why does he feel the need to magnify player problems to a national level and build up tension, for whatever reason, about whether he will or won’t suspend someone? To preserve the NFL’s image? You see the irony in this too, right?
You see what players do in their professional lives and what they do in their personal lives are completely different things, and making it a priority of the league to punish players for acting out on their own time is laughable. Especially since each of these players belongs to a team that should be able to dole out their own punishments, after all, once the government said they haven’t done anything wrong that really should be the end of this.
It is a business. Why not give our franchises the same ability as we give our private industries? You know, with employing crooks and all that. But if we really think about these suspensions that are getting handed out, who is really getting hurt by these players not playing? The players? Hardly. The teams? To a degree. But the people who suffer the most are the ones that make all of it possible...the fans.
In an ideal world the best athletes would also be the best people. Imagine a league of Hines Wards and Peyton Mannings, but this is reality and sometimes reality doesn’t give you what you want.
So if you want professional athletes as role models you either have to bite the bullet when they mess up, or just make it as platonic of a scenario as you can.