In stadiums and pubs all over the planet fans grab a brew and dawn a jersey rooting on their favorite team. Our fandom and allegiance is largely built around the dazzling play of some of the world’s greatest athletes. We love them because they are able to do things that we could only imagine like Kobe Bryant’s 81 point record breaking performance; Adrian Peterson triumphant MVP performance 9 months after reconstructive knee surgery.
These once in a generation talent gain infamy for their clutch performance. Because of their talents and ability on the field we see Hope Solo on Wheaties boxes; Ray Lewis selling Old Spice deodorant; and Tiger Woods selling Buicks. Every time we cut on our televisions we welcome these athletes into lives. But we must remember that these athletes endorsing these products are no different than you and me.
For some reason we mistakenly presume that in addition to their athletic exploits that guys like Dez Bryant, Tony Stewart, and others have a heightened moral compass that prevents them from making the mistakes that ordinary joe and jane make each day.
The Ray Rice fiasco has reminded us all that no one is immune and mistakes are a widespread epidemic that impacts and influences all mankind. The actions of Rice and Stewart are deplorable, however both incidents can serve as a teaching lesson on how important it is for us to access before we act.
Each of the athletes mentioned has been exposed, not as villains but as human. Although these athletes have been punished or will be, the real question is will you alter your views and perceptions and address these issues in your homes and in your communities? You may not possess world class speed of Hermes or the physique that would make Hercules jealous but you can make a difference but will you? Because at the end of the day Sir Charles Barkley said it best, (ATHLETES) I AM NOT A ROLE MODEL. Stay tuned…I know I will. –