Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Menace of the Role Model!

Don't read my blog if you think athletes should be role models.

Here's a local story: At Harding Park, a San Francisco golf course, Michael Jordan is getting in trouble for smoking a cigar on a golf course. In San Francisco, since this course is city property, smoking is banned.

I'm not a fan of smoking. I've never even tried it. Smoke bothers me when I'm breathing it. People who smoke stink. Yes, I like that it's banned indoors in so many places around here. But outside? We've gone over the edge. In this case, we're talking about a really big field. Yes, that enclosed space known as a golf course.

Here's how I feel about smoking: Go for it. Feel free to smoke all you want. I'm choosing not to do so. And in a society, we have to deal with other people's smoke. OK, protect us from it getting too personal and close - indoors, the smoke doesn't drift away as quickly. But you're free to smoke.

It's the same as freedom of speech. Go for it. Speak all you want. I'm choosing to do so. And in society, we have to deal with other people's ideas. OK, protect us from it getting too personal and close - time, place, and personal protection, such as slander and threat. But you're free to speak.

But something else in the article stuck with me. "He's trying to set a good example for the rest of the people who see on TV what we are doing out there, just try to set a good example and try to chew his tobacco instead of smoke it." Yeah, I know this quote is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. At least, I hope it is.

But it's this idea that sports figures are supposed to be role models. Kids are supposed to look up to all athletes and emulate them.

No. They're not.

I've heard this one with Michael Vick too many times over the past year. How can they let him play again? Athletes are supposed to be role models! He shouldn't be allowed to play football because kids will see that dog killers get to be quarterbacks!

Athletes are supposed to play the game well. Then they get old and retire (or come back and retire a few more times). While they play, you get to root for and against athletes. Seems like this might be a good person for you to root against, right?

But arguing that Michael Vick should NOT get to play football AFTER he has served his time IF there's a team willing to pay and play him? It's not your call. It's the commissioners. Vick gets to play. The only reason he might be a role model is if you keep saying he is.

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