Pistorius latest to prove athletes are no role models
My all time favorite athlete is former Michigan Fab-Fiver Chris Webber. But I would never let him babysit my son.
It’s not that there is anything necessarily wrong with Webber; he may have taken some money in college and called a bad time out but he is among the best spoken former players around these days. He seems a likable enough fellow. That and his revolutionary big man skills made me follow him his entire career.
But I don’t know who Chris Webber is. Not the real Chris Webber. The one outside of the court and now broadcast booth.
That’s the thing about athletes being role models. If I want my kid to be a big man with handle in the NBA, then sure, my boy can have him as a role model. But if I want my kid to be a good, kind and compassionate human being, then Webber is probably not the way to go. Don't get me wrong, he might be, I just have no way of knowing that, on account of never having had a single conversation with him!
Same goes for my other sports heroes Diego Armando Maradona – the greatest soccer player of all time, but basically a dirt bag of a person, on account of his tendency not to recognize his own children, the latest of which was born today – Lance Armstrong, who, while I don’t fault for taking performance enhancing drugs (that’s a whole other blog!), repeatedly lied about it and, even worse, attacked those who called him on it.
If there were any doubt about the truth first spoken by Charles Barkley – that athletes shouldn’t’ be role models – then surely South African Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius used his prosthetic legs to put the last nail in the coffin.
We don’t know for sure what led Pistorius to fire four shots and kill his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, early Thursday. But it doesn’t look good; especially if his defense will be that he thought she was a home intruder as has been suggested by some.
If anybody seemed to fit the role of role model it should have been Pistorius, who overcame a physical disability to shine on the ultimate athletic world stage, the Olympics.
But now this. And one has to wonder, what else do athletes have to do to convince us that they are just as flawed as the rest of us.
Pistorius, Armstrong, Manti Te’O, Alex Rodriguez, O.J. Simpson and on and on. When it comes to the playing field, court or track, they all are among the best in the world. But no matter how obvious and silly it may seem to say it, it bears repeating again today: They are no better than the rest of us. And often, much worse.