Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I just want to be one of you guys

Yesterday I was in the car with my two sons, Hamilton and Gibson and we got on the topic of role models. Hamilton, my oldest, asked me if I had a role model growing up. I was a competitive gymnast from 2nd grade until my senior year in high school, so yeah I did have a role model. It was Mary Lou Retton, the picture perfect athlete. She could do no wrong, in fact, she did no wrong. She was worthy of the title “role model”. Looking back at that time in my life, there were plenty of good role models to choose from. I could name a million people that took that role seriously.

The trouble nowadays is that my kids don’t have anyone to look up to. The men that they idolize and want to be when they grow up can’t seem to get their heads out of their asses long enough to make a good decision. These men often use the excuse of “I never signed up to be a role model” as a means to cop out on any bad decisions that they may make. But, as I see it, these guys get paid millions of dollars for both endorsements and playing sports, and these things automatically make them role models. It’s kind of like buying a car. The sticker price may be $25,000 but the doc fee is an additional $1,200 and no one ever tells you about it until you get in the finance office to sign the contract. But if you want the car, you know you have to pay it.

Take Tiger Woods for example, you can’t tell me that Nike would have paid him $34 million to be their spokesperson ten years ago if he were caught sleeping with fifteen plus women behind the back of his wife before they signed him on to represent their brand. No they wouldn’t have…because they paid him for his image. Why they are still paying him is beyond me. I do not buy the fact that he says he is remorseful. I’m sorry, but I just don’t. I know I shouldn’t judge, but when it comes to male figures that my kids look up to, I feel like I have the right to judge.

What about Ben Rothlesberger, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers? He has recently been accused of sexual misconduct, twice. That’s right, not once, but twice. And so far his only punishment is that he is going to have to sit out the first six games of the 2010/2011 season. I bet he still gets paid though. Seriously, what kind of punishment is that for a guy who is a role model to our kids?

I’m from Indiana and our family used to be, and I stress used to be, huge Indiana Pacer fans. But we no longer are because of the thugs that play for our team. And really, it’s not just our team, but the whole league. The NBA has had more guys than I can count get in public brawls, shoot outs, and inappropriate situations. And the worst part is that the repercussion from these incidents is usually minor compared to the action.

I know I shouldn’t complain about things unless I can offer a suggestion on how to improve them. So for this reason I have come up with what I think is a very viable solution to these bad decisions our kids “role models” are making. And here it is…

It is my belief that if you are playing a major league sport you should only get paid on two conditions; first, if your team wins, and second, if you stay out of the spotlight in a negative way. Seriously, that doesn’t seem like to much to ask for, does it? It would mean that these guys not only make better decisions in life, but that they live up to what they are being paid for, and bottom line, that is being a role model.

Honestly, I don’t think that is too much to ask for, do you?

One final thought: Peyton Manning, please don’t let us down. My 9 and 6 year old are counting on you to be the role model you claim to be. Don’t make me have to sit them down and talk about you and your decision making abilities too. We love you and look up to you and hope to for a very long time.


  1. My oldest is 5 and still looks up to super heroes. I dread the day when he starts to figure out the 'real' people. I agree that these guys need to be held up to different standards.
    Of course I also think that as media gets more and more intrusive we will keep finding out about more and more 'bad' that people do. I kinda like being kept in the dark.

    Stopping by from SITS

  2. Well said! i think the leagues need to hold the players more accountable then just a 6 game suspension.

  3. Professionals of any kind do not get paid to be role models. They get paid to do what they do best and are often heralded for their incredible abilities whether they are athletes, writers, scientists, astronauts, or actors.

    When did parents, teachers, coaches, and the men and women who run honest small businesses stop being role models for kids? Whose to blame for the skewed perceptions of our children?

  4. I would certainly support a dock in pay for negative behavior--it looks bad for the team, hurts morale, that sort of thing. However, in competitive sports there's always a winning team and a losing team, I think tying all wages to wins wouldn't quite be fair. Perhaps a bonus per win, sure.

    I agree, role models don't have to be major celebrities, mentoring programs, BB/BS and all that are great for finding role models outside of the spotlight.

  5. You are living with one of the Best Role models in the world. I did not realize it until I was older. ... M

  6. It's even sadder that our sons can't look up to their own fathers anymore as role models either...I don't know your situation...but in my marriage (unfortunately soon to be divorce - praying reconcilliation) my sons father has NOT been someone I want him to model his life after.

    My Daddy and my Uncles those are REAL men who are REAL Role Models. Following Christ...providing for their family...never failing.

  7. The third, fourth, and fifth chances the professional athletes are given is ridiculous. I know that they feel they didn't sign up to be role models, but they are. They should start acting like it. Yes, it would be nice for teachers and other daily figures to be role models, but athletes...they are super heroes in our children's eyes. I wish they would step up.

  8. Maybe they should just have an ethics clause written into their contracts. Unfortunately, the unions would never allow it. I actually DO think Tiger is sorry - for getting caught, for actually realizing how badly he messed up. But idolizing someone because they can hit a ball or play golf or throw a football better than anyone else is just, well, silly. I mean, you can admire the way they play for sure, but we never really know the athlete as a person, you know? Although I met Peyton Manning once when he was in college and he was very impressive as far as personality - but you never know.

    Wins and losses aren't under the control of a single player in a team sport, so that probably wouldn't work.

    I should say I covered professional athletes as a newspaper reporter for 15 years, so I have a little insight into some of these guys, good AND bad.

  9. You know the old baseball and movie contracts had ethics clauses in them! I feel the unions, especially NBA, need to look at bringing back the ethics clauses. Professional sports have gotten a really bad rap due to thugs(for lack of a better word) in their ranks! We don't watch any type of professional sports because of it at our house. But you better not be there on college football Saturdays if you don't want to watch football!!

  10. Following via SITS.

    Well said...I'm lucky though, because while my kids can't look up to their own dad, they can look up to mine and I hope my son learn a lot about how to be an honorable man from him!

  11. Well said, Julie. And I'm sure the counter argument could be, "Well, Babe Ruth wasn't a saint!!" To that I say, the press (if they knew) kept those antics away from the fans (plus, the Babe didn't make anywhere near what these guys do today!). So since that's not the case anymore, and we know that the press will dig for whatever makes headlines, the "role models" of today need to be even more squeaky clean!!! Love your your thoughts.

  12. Peels on wheels chick in AZMay 4, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    My absolutely favorite!!! I love this one from your bbf in Arizona!!



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