Charles Barkley once shot a controversial commercial stating, “I am not a role model. I’m not paid to be a role model.” However, I believe that athletes are role models even if they don’t want to be. Athletes are put under a microscope and every move they make on and off the field is examined by our entire country. Sports play a major role in the lives of young children and it is only natural for them to look up to there heroes.
Everybody needs someone to look up, and unfortunately not everyone has positive influences in their family. Athletes are always in the national spotlight and it is their responsibility and obligation to act a certain way. Growing up my friends and I would try and emulate our favorite athletes performances on the court. I wanted to be Reggie Miller torching the New York Knicks and go at with Spike Lee. I would even use the choke symbol Reggie used. Trashtalk is a part of sports, but when I used the choke symbol in recreational basketball games my coach and parents weren’t happy. I quickly learned that it wasn’t okay to use the choke symbol after scoring a meaningless basket in a recreational basketball game. Yet, I continued to trash talk because that was what the “real players” did.
Now it is perceived that many “real players” all take steroids. This suspicion amongst the media has led more high school athletes than ever to use steroids. Athletes need to show America that Steroids aren’t necessary to succeed in sports. Every time we turn on our televisions or surf the internet, we see negative news about athletes. While Pacman Jones makes it rain at strip club or Michael Vick decides to run a dog fighting ring from his home there are children all over trying to figure out what it means to “make it rain” and why would somebody have their dogs fight? While athletes don’t want to be role models, it comes with the success, celebrity, and money. When making decisions athletes must always remember they are role models and realize these decisions do impact the lives of many children.