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Athletes’ flaws outweigh their positive actions

November 18, 2010

Why do we admire professional athletes on a grand scale?

We watch their every move and want to grow up to be just like them. But are these the role models we want for our children?

Time and time again, we see these athletes engaging in unethical behavior that is deemed unacceptable in our culture. Whether it’s cheating on spouses, sending lewd text messages, taking performance enhancing drugs or selfish antics, these behaviors put a damper on the world of sports. There are a small portion of athletes whom we admire and make us believe in something greater than ourselves.

The truth is, we don’t hear about the positive stories because it doesn’t make for a good story or attract viewers.

The examples of the athletes who can perform at the highest level, heed the call of citizenship and go above and beyond the call to give back to the community are quite simply unheard of.

Did anyone report that the Milwaukee Brewers All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun gave free meals to military veterans on Veteran’s Day? Or that Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning created the Peyback Foundation to help disadvantaged youth?

Athletes such as these garner the respect and admiration from fans around the country but may only be mentioned in passing.

Stories like the New Orleans Saints restoring hope and belief in overcoming tragedy after Hurricane Katrina to a devastated city that make us put geographical and bitter disappointments aside. How could anyone cheer against teams like the Yankees or the Patriots shortly after Sept. 11?  (It may have been the first and only time I will ever consider myself a Yankee fan.) But it is during these times where athletic competitions can unite a city or a nation and make us put aside the cares and troubles of this world, if even for a brief moment.

The world of sports is not perfect. There is so much time, resources and money spent on what many would call a silly game. But what it boils down to is that athletes such as Braun and Manning remind us that baseball and football go beyond the innings and quarters. The world of sports captures the essence of the American spirit:  that hard work and determination can take you anywhere; that helping your neighbor and believing in the extraordinary can bring out the best in people; and, ultimately, when facing that insurmountable challenge, you discover things you never knew you could do.

Comments

Chris Feld on 19 Sep 2011: I think it's likely that one of the main reasons that the athletes mentioned are engaging in community service etc. is that their teams PR department told them to.