Sunday, March 28, 2010

Athletes as Role Models?

Americans have always had an insatiable love affair with exceptional storylines, and professional athletes are not immune to the effects of this phenomenon. Athletes were not always role models in American society, but somewhere along the line that changed: great talent on the field is now expected to translate into great willpower, charity, and demeanor off the field. Due to the rise in modern media exposure and certain organizational rules athletes (role models) have lost their individuality and become commodities.

I'm currently working on a project for an American Studies class that concerns the idea of professional athletes as role models, and I'm curious as to what some of you might have to say on the subject. The above paragraph was the intro to the project proposal I submitted to my professor last week, and part of the project entails some polling of sports fans. Obviously, my readers are my very favorite sports fans, so I though I would give you first crack at answering some questions:

*Do you feel that the public (and, to a certain extent, the media) puts unreasonable expectations on the shoulders of professional athletes?

*Has this phenomenon worsened in recent years?

*How does this affect professional athletics as a whole?

Any opinion you have on the matter would be much appreciated, either in the comments, via Twitter, or via email (found in my profile).

The project encompasses all of professional sports, so if you'd rather spout off about Mike Tyson or Tiger Woods than Joba Chamberlain and Miguel Tejada, feel free, and I look forward to reading your responses!

1 comment:

  1. I actually feel that sometimes the public actually lowers their expectations of proffesional atheletes. Even though a "misbehaving athelete" often makes headlines, it happens often enough that it generally becomes forgotten soon after. We saw this when Michael Phelps was in the news for smoking pot. After a while it went away and it didn't really effect most people's view of him. On the other hand, when the offense is serious enough, such as the Tiger Woods incident, the opposite can occur and the athelete may experience a complete crucifixion from the public and the media for a certain act or offense.

    This has definitely worsened in recent years with the internet. The biggest affect that this has on pro atheletes is that they are put under a microscope and praised or criticized for just about every little thing they do. Seems harsh, but at the same time this is what comes with being a celebrity.

    Hope this helps. Love your blog. Keep it up.