Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Trite Utterances of Subpar Sports "Fans," Revisited

By now you know about Braylon Edwards' DWI this past Monday night, in which he blew a .16 BAC. Nearly as bad as the act itself is the common man's reaction where he moans and groans about "oh, he gets to play on Sunday but I'd be fired if it happened at my job," or "who are my kids supposed to look up to?" Let's make it clear. There is no comparing your job to that of a professional athlete. None. They are in two different universes so let's keep them there. We've covered this before so no need to dive back in.

What annoys me is the whole "role model" thing, and don't worry, I'm not going to go Charles Barkley on you. I have a slightly different spin on the matter. If you ask "who are the kids supposed to look up to?" the obvious answer is their parents, but let's keep that aside for the moment. As kids, we all looked up to rock stars, actors, athletes, etc. in addition to our parents - you can't not want to be like the famous people you root for and see on TV or in movies. So let it be a given that kids are going to look up to other people in addition to their family.

The American without perspective says he can't in good conscience have his kids look up to pro athletes because of people like Braylon Edwards. And that's not incorrect, but I offer this counterpoint. What walk of life, what certain occupation, is totally clean of unsavory people? Police? Um, next. How about doctors and/or nurses? Maybe not. Elected politicians and statesmen? You already know where that one's going. How about the seemingly highest of all callings, the priesthood? Not exactly.

So are pro sports really that especially bad? Every certain sample of people is going to have its share of good and bad, a proportionate number of saints and dirtbags. If you say that you can't let 8 year old Timmy root for the Jets anymore since Braylon Edwards got a DWI, and you wonder who he can ever look up to, then by your logic, there is no one to look up to. And please don't say it's a pro athlete's responsibility to be a role model because of all the exposure and money. If anything, the Braylon Edwards fiasco this week provided an opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about how stupid he was to get behind the wheel, and discuss the hundreds of better ways to have handled the situation. Am I wrong?

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