Throughout sport the talented are painted as role models. But as a role model, who by definition is a person who is looked to by others as an example to be imitated, are the sports people of today really living up to the standards from which they should? The ever increasing wealth of these sports ‘stars’ is inflating and so too are their egotistical ways and their negligent behaviour towards the example to which they should be setting.
The fact is to a child today as they look up to these sports ‘stars’ and see them as role models, they see that as a society we grant them a free pass due to their talents. Is this really the message that we as a society want to send this generation of children, from whom it will just filter down to the next and the next? That their talents justify them living a different life to that of a ‘normal’ person, with a different set of rules to live by. The time has come that we need to put an end to this epidemic of role models failing to do what it says on the tin.
First I come to the curious case of Mario Balotelli. The 21-year-old Manchester City forward splits opinions with his erratic behaviour, from setting off fireworks in his own house, to continuing to indulge in cigarettes even now as a professional footballer. Least we forget the clear disregard for the £120,000 the forward is supplied with by his team. His disregard is shown for all to see in the way he just throws money away, for example leaving £1000 behind the bar of a pub, or buying a motorbike which he is banned from riding by his club.
The way Balotelli spends this money shows his attitude towards it as disposable. In the current economic climate for a person to be able to do this shows a total lack of respect for the working class people in the UK where the average income for a weeks work is just a miniscule £500 compared to the vast quantity handed to the professional footballer. Is this the kind of role model we want the new generation of children looking up to? I don’t think so. A role model should be seen to give as good as he gets, he should be seen to help society, not go behind its back and brand it a laughing stock.
Even with his behaviour and his total lack of respect Mario Balotelli is still ‘honoured’ with a song dedicated to him by his supporters. This song just goes to show the feelings society as a whole have for sports people, that with his undeniable talent all of Balotellis misdemeanors are swept under the carpet and laid to rest. Football is not the only source of this epidemic; the golfing world has been struck to. A sport dubbed as a gentleman’s game was rocked by the stories of its ‘golden boy’ being a love cheat.
The news shocked the world, Tiger Woods, a man who had inspired, a man who was of the upmost professionalism could not be a love cheat, surely? But the truth rose to the surface and Woods finally gave in and admitted to infidelity. The professional golfer, who was widely anticipated to overtake Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship wins, has now seen his world fall apart. Tiger’s scorecard of 9 confirmed women must feel like a triple bogey. So again I ask the question is this the kind of role model children should look up to?
The answer is the same, a resounding no. Children should not look up to a man who has strayed not just once, but nine times from his wife and the mother of his children. The fact that Tiger is now back playing professional golf at the highest level is worrying and the time that it took him to come back from his “indefinite break from professional golf” even more so. He may have lost some of his major sponsors but Woods will still be laughing all the way to the bank where he reportedly has a net worth of a cool £500 million.
So the message being sent is this even after being caught and being hung up to dry as a love cheat a player who has great talent may just jump back on the horse. He may start over. Now, would any ‘normal’ person in a ‘normal’ society just be able to throw these problems away and escape without being scrutinized or holding the burden of their actions on the shoulders? What is being shown is that if you have the talent, which Woods undeniably does, the answer is give them a slap on the wrist and forget about it.
So as the children of this generation grow up and see this they think this is the norm, that with talent comes a free pass, a different set of rules to live by and that is fine. As a society we encourage this attitude and this encourages this attitude in the new generation, which will lead to problems. For as we see our sports ‘stars’ behave in this manor, we can surely start to do the same, these role models are to be imitated, right? That’s what it says on the tin anyway. These problems have multiplied so greatly now that they have even took a stranglehold on the international sports scene.
The international stage of sport, where all the ‘stars’ go, should be of the upmost professionalism and these ‘stars’ should be seen to epitomize a role model. They should be seen as people who have trained countless hours and dedicated their lives to their sport of choice for success but instead in the 2011 Rugby World Cup some of these would be role models or ‘stars’ showed their true colours. The English World cup team spat their success in the faces of all the people who looked up and admired them for their talents.
Their World Cup was shrouded in scandal, with even the newlywed of the Queens Granddaughter filmed cavorting with a female. This attitude goes to show that once graced with huge talent these sports ‘stars’ feel as if they have a divine right to do what they want. It is now time these role models long leash was pulled in. They need to be shown that as a society we do not like their actions and that the example they are setting is not one of a role model but one of an egotistical maniac high on the success that they have been gifted with.
They are paving the way for an epidemic of new adults who think that with supreme talent comes the right to do what they want, to become morally inadequate. With their vast sums of money, and their high status in society they should help, not destroy. By shortening the leash and by giving these ‘stars’ the punishment where it is deserved we as a society will be better off and this will reverse the wrong doings of these ‘stars’ who are not really ‘stars’ they just black holes sucking the justice out of this world.