Athletic role models or lack thereof

The media has been able to portray athletes as physical gods as they excel in their individual sports. Twitter is making athletes more and more relevant as individuals. YouTube has given fans the opportunity to see our favorite players in their highest moments.

Growing up, I had a Derek Jeter poster on my wall; I looked up to him. He was a role model for me, someone who personified leadership and maturity. Even today, the veteran shortstop of the Yankees has held up his image and been able to continue to be a role model for kids. But every role model can’t always be a role model.

In the wake of Manti Te’o’s “catfish” scam, Lance Armstrong’s “confession” and the Pacers and Warriors basketball brawl, I have noticed the downfall of athletic role models in our time.

More often than not, we see these athletes become as a child, not in a humble and honest way but in an immature and needy way. These athletes whom we are told are role models for our kids are turning less and less into role models and more into divas.

In the Golden State at Indiana NBA game on Feb. 26, Roy Hibbert of the Pacers and David Lee of the Warriors got into a shoving match underneath the basket, which resulted in a team on team brawl that went into the stands. Reminds me a lot of when I used to shove my older brother for the last Twinkie, which usually would turn into an all-out brawl between all my brothers that would spill out into the living room. Yet Hibbert and Lee are getting paid millions of dollars to do this on national television. There’s the immaturity that these divas are displaying.

Then there are the strikes, contract negotiations and substance abuse in sports. Most of it is about money, while the latter is about recognition. Everyone wants to feel wanted, but with contracts getting ridiculously out of control, it is only a matter of time before we’re paying these athletes over $30 million a year to play the same game everyone else is playing, all in the

name of feeling wanted.

Lance Armstrong confessed
to taking steroids for his own personal recognition. He won seven tour medals all under drug influence, and his net worth is currently sitting at $125 million. His scripted “confession” on Oprah Winfrey felt like a primary talk on Sunday from a 5-year old. The only thing missing was a parent whispering in his ear what to say. Maybe his confession would’ve appeared less scripted.

These so-called role models are just becoming downright immature. With inappropriate tweets from the likes of Forrest Griffin and Delonte West, the constant want to be wanted and needed has never been so great. Just play the game.

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