The disappearing realm of good role models

"If people are paid for what they do, it seems, there are no rules concerning their behaviour."

It is getting harder and harder to find people, particularly in sports, but also in political high spots, that one could recommend as role models. If people are paid for what they do, it seems, there are no rules concerning their behaviour.

More and more the once, “merciless glare,” of media is quite merciful in its impact. Sure, Lance Armstrong has gone from icon to sort of nobody important, but he lives pretty well on the proceeds of his drug-fueled racing highs and you hear very little of him now, only months after the concrete revelations of his sleaziness came out.

Druggies in other sports, particularly baseball, get wrist-slapped just before they get big free agent deals, and you will have to go a long way to convince me that nobody in pro hockey ever used performance enhancing drugs, even though news of discovered infractions on that front is very, very, rare.

Part of that is that the NFL is so over the top that miscreants in other leagues get passes.

Not a week goes by without some current or recently former football hero is arrested, or convicted of some act of illegality or criminality. Drugs, money scams, murders, rapes, sexual abuses and harassments, assaults – all are part of the everyday culture of the world’s most profitable sporting enterprise.

Even the nearly sainted Walter, “Sweetness” Payton, generally a paragon on the field and well loved by fans from around the world, turned out to be a less-than exemplary family person and a drug abuser – and he was long considered the best of them.

The NFL is different.

One has to be at least a little stupid to volunteer to participate in such a painful endeavour – regardless of the monetary rewards – that almost guarantees a brief and painful post-career life. Perhaps we should just expect less of football players, and stop buying the products they endorse.

But other sports, and politics, and as we have seen of late, big business, produce few in the way of well publicized exemplary humans, you know, the kind of people you should want your kids to emulate.

There are still people worth emulating in the world, and they are probably closer than you think.

Want a role model for your kids, be one. That means modulate your behaviour so as not to be a, “hockey parent,” or a grump of any kind. If you can’t do that, find a neighbour who can and encourage your kids to be like them.

The world needs civility, and kindness, and engagement from its residents. Turn away from the Rob Ford extravaganza, the weaseling of parliament and maybe the ultra-violent games and movies that are all around, and take yourself and your family in a better direction.

Sports, games, the ability to make a profit – these are all good things.

They are only very good things if what goes along with them is good for our families and friends and neighbours and the environment.


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