Behavioral studies show that role models have an immense impact on today's American youth. In this paper, there will be review and examination of the question, should athletes be morally obligated to take the responsibility of acting as role models and why, or why not? It will ask many questions that could change your opinion on what the responsibility of the athlete is or should be.
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Children these days need role models more than ever. Crime rates are at a high, gang activity is increasing, and parents are working more, resulting in children being unsupervised. It all boils down to one word: why? Could one reason be that children are not being properly supervised? Parents have to take up second jobs or work really long hours to keep up with the increasing prices of homes and cost of living. This leaves teenagers and young boys and girls more exposed to the rough crowds and peer pressure of society. Instead of coming home from school and going down to the end of the street to play a game of baseball with the boys in the neighborhood, boys are now caught up video games that encourage shooting and fighting. Who in our world can help change this? How can we as adults help the younger generation? We can encourage, suggest, and recommend positive activities and good people to look up to. Athletes? Never, has anyone asked for athletes to be perfect human beings and ask that they don't do anything wrong. Yes, there are baseball players who use steroids, NBA players who leave the court to fight people in the stands, and yes there are football players that have gold teeth. But another argument that could be made is that there are far more good athletes than there are bad. Look at Michael Jordan, the best basketball player ever. He wasn't caught up in drugs, gangs, and violence. So doest it all start with the parents? Commercials such as the save your kids' foundation quotes "Your choices shape their chances." Saying that not only being a parent but a role model shapes your kids lives, but then again many kids look to other places such as professional sports to find their role models. So maybe it ca be said that it is up to the parents to help their children choose their role models wisely. What is a role model? According to Word Net Search, it is someone worthy of imitation. It also goes on to state, "every child needs a role model." Before we can address if athletes should be role models, it is important to understand what it is. However, our world is complex in this matter, so questions such as, what is worthy of being imitated? Is it someone who sings really well, someone who acts, a superstar in a movie, or is it simply someone who lives about their day to day life in a positive manner and has great qualities that should be imitated by others? Athletes are in a rare position. Everything they do and say is recorded and if it's something that does not go well with society they are held liable for it making difficult for these athletes who are regular people to ever express their opinions. Always under the microscope, but it is the manner that they handle it that many times shows to be so courageous. You have ones that use it to help others such as volunteering their time to do kids baseball or basketball camps. Some donate their money to charities or disaster funds such as Hurricane Katrina, and some just go about their business and solely focus on what is most important, their families. Can society really blame them for that? There are many good role models in professional sports, but it makes it difficult because it is the superstars that are usually looked up to the most. Rarely do you see a kid talking about the guy sitting on the bench for the Anaheim Angels that possibly donates a lot of time and makes a huge effort to be a positive role model. Bottom line is that no matter what any professional sport does, you will never see every athlete in...