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Essay/Term paper: Why athletes are good role models

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Research Papers

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Why Athletes Are Good Role Models

Ever since the ancient years, we have admired athletes and the hard work
that they do to achieve their goal of winning. We idolize them and wish we were
more like them. What happens though when the realization sinks in that they
are human too and that some of them do get greedy and selfish? A lot of
athletes are model citizens that you should really look up to, but there are
also some bad apples in the bunch that ruin it for everyone. Athletes can
inspire young people to work hard so that their efforts can pay off, but no one
is pure and flawless. Greed does take a hold of some players, but they
shouldn't be the ones we devote all of our attention to. We should look at the
positive things that people do. The media does not go around reporting all of
the good things that these people do, just the bad things and their mistakes.
They are only human just like the rest of us. Are these people safe for our
children to idolize to look up to? I think that the answer is YES!

If you were watching the news, would you really want to hear about all
of the charities that an athlete has donated money to? It would be interesting
at first, but you would get tired of it afterwards. That is why the media never
covers anything like this. We all know that they really don't care about
anything else except for a hot topic. The truth really does not mean anything
to them. This we notice in all the cases that the media jumps to wrongful
conclusions, such as the Richard Jewel case and the Olympic bombing and the TWA
flight 800 that blew up over New York. The media jumped to numerous conclusions
that had us lost. Do you think these people worry about what fund raiser
Michael Jordan attended and about what Shaquille O'Neal did on Thanksgiving for
the needy? No. They are more interested in what color Dennis Rodman's hair is
and what he wore last night at Excalibur.

I had to go through days of research to find out that Chicago Bears star
Chris Zorich has started a full scholarship at Notre Dame for inner city youths
that get accepted to the school, but can't afford it. He plays for our city's
football team, and we have not heard of any of his philanthropic efforts. He
also has an annual food drive for the needy around Thanksgiving. I read about
that in a little column in the newspaper. Would he have been accused of theft
or assault, he would have had a front page article and the whole back page of
the Chicago Sun-Times to himself. Shaquille O'Neal bought over 1,000 turkeys
and gave to needy families all across the nation on Thanksgiving. I did not
hear one mention of that in the news. They are making us believe that all
athletes are bad people with their propaganda. If they spent half the time
covering the good-hearted stories that they do the bad ones, we would have a
different opinion on the hard working athlete.

Michael Jordan has started a foundation that donates money for research
to help physically challenged children. He has been running up the tabs at
Atlantic City casinos, but who hasn't gambled? We are not perfect. Michael may
gamble, but he does his share of helping and works hard for what he has acquired.
Gambling is no crime, so then he is not showing us a negative thing. If
parents disapprove of him gambling, then they should outlaw it because he is not
doing anything wrong. Michael, and other athletes as well, is aware that he is
constantly being watched by millions and tries to act accordingly.

There has been a major controversy in the NBA lately thanks to Charles
Barkley and his claim in an interview that he is not a role model, but that is
the job of the parent. He says that parents shouldn't be blaming the athletes
if they can't control their own children. Another person that agrees with this
notion is football and basketball star Deion Sanders. Barkley has paid over
$80,000 in fines over a period of two years. He is known for getting very
aggressive and violent at times. No one is asking Barkley to give all his money
away to charity, but to do what other stars do, realize that all these people
look up to you and show some restraint. Nobody is forcing athletes to be good
people, we just want some of them to use better judgement.

One person that honestly thinks that ball players do serve a role as
models for the kids and should live up to it is Vincent Lamont Baker of the
Milwaukee Bucks. He is the best all round player on the team and one of the
most versatile in the league. He is said to be the symbol of what the NBA is
really trying to sell: "good players who are even better people." An excellent
role model for black youth is Dave Bing. He was elected into the NBA Hall of
Fame in 1989 and is now the CEO of Bing Steel, a firm that had $61 million in
sales in 1991and was ranked tenth in the United States among black-owned
industrial and service companies. He now donates a lot of his time and money to
various charities.

Football player Orlando Pace sits with 6th grade children in their
school library and helps them read. His message was "Yes, I have had some
athletic ability and talent, but studying is what's really important." He also
said that he doesn't think of himself as a role model, but he is doing the right
thing because he knows that there are people looking up to him and he wants to
show them something positive. I couldn't believe all of the things he does for
children and then says that he doesn't think of himself as a role model. Most
of these players are just doing their job. But he realizes that people do look
up to him and that is why he tries to set a good example. If only all of the
players would think that way, then there wouldn't be any problem in the athletic

The most influential player that I have found is Mo Vaughn of the Red
Sox. He does community service and gives kids autographs. He has impressed
everyone with his poise, dedication, and his appetite for work. Vaughn takes
the time to talk to groups of schoolchildren, urging them to stay in school.
Vaughn also plans youth centers to keep kids off the streets and signs and sends
get-well cards. He also uses the proceeds from formal autograph-signings to
fund cultural events that are denied to poor children. I wish I knew why I
never heard about this on the news or read about it. It would be different if
Mo Vaughn got accused of something. Arthur Ashe was just as influential. He was
the only black man to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. He protested apartheid
and launched a $5 million fund-raising campaign and questioned the lack of
government funding for research of AIDS.

It is hard to think that any athlete is good with all of the headlines
that you hear about today. The media just covers the athletes that are acting
like sports entertainment celebrities. William Bennett, the Bush's
administration drug czar, is enlisting pro athletes to help him fight the war on
drugs. He assumes that they are held to higher standards of conduct than other
people because they serve as role models. Everyone is aware of the role that
these athletes have. We should not look at the inappropriate actions of few
athletes. I was biased to believing that all athletes are bad before I started
doing my research for this paper. Then I found all of the good things that
numerous players have done to help others. Just because they want to help
doesn't mean that we should expect them too because they are only human. We
should not have athletes as scapegoats if children are resistant and defiant.
Those are responsibilities of the parents. Just because there are some bad
people in sports today doesn't mean that we should generalize. We have had some
bad presidents also, but we don't hate all of them. Some of them work hard to
contribute something to us just like professional athletes do. We just have ot
remember that they are human just like us and that Michael Jordan and Dennis
Rodman aren't gods just because they have a lot of money. They worked hard for
it so let them enjoy it.


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