Staff Editorial: Famous athletes not always the best role models

By Duke Staff

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a role model as “someone who another person admires and tries to be like.”

Children all over the country have life-sized posters of famous athletes, emblazoned on their walls. Sports are becoming a place where kids find their role models, but should this be the case?

We at The Duke believe that to be a true role model, individual sports players should have to prove themselves both on and off the field.

What professional athletes must accomplish to rise to the top one percent in the world is certainly remarkable. For many of them it is the only way to escape a life of pain and struggle.

Take for example Jordan Crawford, of the Boston Celtics. He said in an interview with ESPN, that had he not played football he would have turned to a life of crime. That, however, does not qualify him to be idolized.

Humans are naturally flawed. We all make mistakes. Although Crawford ended up on a path of success, many successful athletes like O.J. Simpson and Tiger Woods stray to the negative spotlight for participating in immoral or criminal acts. Despite these things being possible mistakes, this does not excuse the athletes who cause trouble for themselves and others surrounding them.

A member of our staff really liked former NFL star, Aaron Hernandez. He followed his football career and rooted for him to do well. Once Hernandez was arrested for murder he had to stop and examine the fact that he had been rooting for an alleged murderer.

Being an athlete says nothing about who a person is off the court or field.

They also tend to do things that might not be against the law or get them into trouble, but can have negative effects when they are viewed as role models.

Many are having more kids with different women out of wedlock. Travis Henry, for example, has  had 11 kids with 10 different women, which means that he may never be able to afford the outrageously high amounts of child support he owes.

So, what does a parent do when trying to lead his/her kids in a safe direction?

We believe that sports are valuable and should not be ignored, but that children shouldn’t get their role models from sports leagues.

They can learn the value of teamwork, leadership and how hard work pays off. They can learn to love a team and cheer for the team, an apply those principles to other areas of their life.

However, once you start cheering for individual players you take a chance that anyone of them could be involved in criminal or immoral acts.