I’m tired of professional athletes and their tear-filled press conferences. I’ve grown weary of football players, baseball players, basketball players, and golfers confessing their mistakes before cameras and microphones and apologizing to their families, teammates, and others. My gag reflex kicks in when they talk about setting a better example for kids. What!? Come again, Sir. Can we please stop mentioning kids when we are being sued, suspended, sentenced, or entering treatment? I know. Kids are a fail-safe mechanism. Even if people think you’re lying through your teeth, they wouldn’t dare challenge someone who says they will do better by young people.
That’s alright. Uncle Sol is here. I’ll say it so we can move on. Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t thinking about kids when he was bar-hopping like a rock star on a world tour. Gilbert Arenas wasn’t thinking about kids when he drew a gun on his teammate. Michael Vick wasn’t thinking about kids when he officiated the dogfighting world championship. Donte Stallworth wasn’t thinking about kids when he drove through the streets of Miami “drunk as a skunk,” to use the vernacular of my late mother. Tiger Woods wasn’t thinking about kids when he….On second thought, I’ll leave that one alone. You get the picture.
I said all this to bring us to a conclusion that Charles Barkley uttered infamously over a decade ago. Professional athletes are not role models. Sure, most athletes are good people who do the best they can for themselves and others. Most are nice enough to sign an autograph and take a picture with Johnny. However, we need to get something straight here. Professional athletes cannot replace parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and coaches. It is up to us to be role models for our children. My daughter will form her opinion of a married relationship based on my wife and me – not Tiger and Elin Woods. Her behavior on the athletic field will also be a direct reflection of us. The same is true for your kids.
Professional athletes are people with great skill who are paid a fortune to display that skill. That’s all. They have a responsibility to their own families, teams, and business partners. They are not responsible for raising our kids. That task lies with the person you see in the mirror. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!