OT: Props to Pro Athlete Role Models

Submitted by kriegers on December 2nd, 2009 at 1:29 PM

I know Charles Barkley once scolded the public for viewing professional athletes as role models, but the biggest athletes are role models - for better or worse. The two athletes I grew up loving, have both admitted to immoral and/or illegal acts over the past number of years.

The point of this post is not to air "dirty laundry" by naming athletes and their mistakes (as everyone makes mistakes), but rather give some recognition to some stand-up, veteran, current professional athletes.

A few that come to mind: Peyton Manning, Bryan Westbrook, Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, Rapha Nadal, Roger Federer, and a bunch of Red Wings (especially Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Nicklas Lidstrom)

Anyone you'd like to recognize?


Smitty D

December 2nd, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

burst your little bubble but Pavel Datsyuk not a role model lol trust me I know, but man you live in dream world, about these athletes. Word to the wise stop looking at athletes as role models they play sports, that is it

Todd Plate's n…

December 2nd, 2009 at 1:37 PM ^

Pujols seems to be an upstanding fellow.

shame this thing with Tiger gets this kind of press while his foundation and the work he has done with hundreds, if not thousands of children is never discussed. what he did is inexcusable, but what he has done with the rest of his life cannot be ignored.

Blue Bennie

December 2nd, 2009 at 1:42 PM ^

I'm not a Colts fan, but live in Indianapolis, and have seen how Gary Brackett has made such a positive impact on our community. He has his own charity, but it seems like he is always helping out other groups as well. He may not be that well known as a linebacker, but Gary is certainly a great man positively touching many lives. I wish more athletes would were like him.


December 2nd, 2009 at 1:58 PM ^

Involved in the community, well spoken, college educated, big fundraiser, ambassador for the sport abroad. Great guy IMHO.

Shame on the Tigers if they trade him away.


December 2nd, 2009 at 1:50 PM ^

... I agree with Sir Charles. Pro athletes are entertainers not heroes. Just because Peyton Manning hasn't been caught in some sordid scandal doesn't mean we should idolize him. Can we respect his ability on the field? Hell, yes. Can we laugh at his MasterCard commercials? Sure. But role model?

I reserve that title for my parents who immigrated to America with nothing, worked their butts off to put food on our table, and raised two "normal" kids.

The other guys? I pay to watch them entertain me and sometimes inspire me, and that is the extent of our relationship.

EDIT: Just read my post, I'm quite the curmudgeon today. I'll go with Steve Yzerman.


December 2nd, 2009 at 1:52 PM ^

well more power to you but the fact of the matter is they are role models if they want to be or not. They possess a talent that few people have, but many many many children and even adults want. People like Peyton realize this fact and be sure to be outstanding citizens as well as athletes.


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:05 PM ^

I have always admired Warrick Dunn and his foundation/Homes for the holidays charity. He helps single struggling parents purchase a home and furnish it. He also challenged all non Saints nfl players to raise money for hurrican relief after Katrina and raised something like 4 or 5 million.


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:07 PM ^

I always point out to my kids the guys on the sidelines that never start or play in a game.
They just want to be part of something.
They show up every day for practice.


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:12 PM ^

If you made this list 1 week ago Tiger Woods would be #1. I think a role model should be someone you know trust and respect for reasons other than hitting a ball far. You think you respect them for more ie charities being a great guy, but you really have no clue who these people are.

A Case of Blue

December 2nd, 2009 at 2:19 PM ^

I firmly believe that pro athletes shouldn't have to be role models, any more than bank tellers or dentists or anyone else. But like any group, there are some that do stand out as being role models.

I'm a Packers fan, so my reading habits lend me to suggest two of their players, WRs Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. (Woodson is also awesome, but you guys already knew that.)

Oh, and Tim Duncan anyone? See also the Onion's hilarious articles on Duncan: http://www.theonion.com/content/search/onion/advanced?search=tim duncan


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:31 PM ^

Athletes don't have to be role models for you, but I think it's fair to say that it is a fact that they are role models to some - especially kids.

It's totally fine to reserve the "role model" title for people you know personally and who have overcome unbearable obstacles, but that doesn't preclude athletes from being role models to others.

Thanks to everyone for playing.


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:46 PM ^

he does a hell of a lot for his (and other) foundations. Hard working guy and possibly the most mentally tough athlete today.

As long as it's not illegal, I couldn't care less about what he does in the bedroom with other consenting adults. It's between him, his partners and his wife.

Would I have a problem with Tiger Woods being a role model for my children? No

Has my opinion of Tiger changed since last week? No


December 2nd, 2009 at 3:10 PM ^

I find it hard to believe you'd want your kids to idolize someone who partakes in marital infidelity.

My biggest problem with all of these athletes, politicians, etc. who get caught in these sex scandals is that it seems to marginalize commitment. If these allegations against Tiger are true, and there certainly seems to be mounting evidence, I will lose a lot of respect for him as a person. Phenomenal athlete sure, but not even close to being a man.


December 2nd, 2009 at 3:32 PM ^

well, first off, I don't want my kids to idolize anyone... it's human nature to be imperfect... idolizing someone just sets yourself up for disappointment. But by all means, my kids are free to have role models. Having a role model that has made a mistake can actually be beneficial in that it can show a child that they shouldn't emulate everything someone else does. It can be a tool to show them how decisions have consequences.

As for extramarital affairs, while I don't condone them, I do realize they are quite common. They are not an illegal act, and I don't think they should be an ultimate defining measure of ones character.

On a personal note, my wife's father had an affair prior to his divorce. Despite that indiscretion, my wife and I both think he is a good, stand-up guy and have no problem with our children looking up to him.


December 2nd, 2009 at 4:23 PM ^

I'm not sure how it could possibly be between him his partners and his wife...it seems the chain of events goes:

1) Between him and and his extramarital partners
2a) Between the extramarital partners and the media who buys their voicemails
2b) Then finally his wife is brought into the equation

You make it sound like they're all conferring about it together...

Tiger's still a great athlete, and could still be an example of someone who works hard to achieve his potential, but you have to remember that off the course, he's been dishonest, and you can bet that your kids and other people who look up to him will know about both sides...


December 2nd, 2009 at 3:00 PM ^

Despite his eagerness to forego college and jump into professional basketball (albeit, in Italy), he has made some solid decisions after being drafted.

He lives, for example, less than a mile from the Bucks' training facility - quite a distance from downtown Milwaukee, the nightlife, etc. Apparently, he spends most of his time there.

In addition, he purchased a Ford Edge, despite being a top-10 pick and making over $2 million this year.

The kid obviously wants to save his money in the event something happens and he can't play anymore.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 2nd, 2009 at 3:08 PM ^

I don't consider (and hope my children don't want) pro-athletes and celebrities role models. I can think of far better people for my children to emulate and aspire to be than the people I see playing sports and acting in films.

I am not saying there aren't some pro-athletes and celebrities that would be good role models. What I am saying is that as parents, we won't be able to chose which ones our children follow, nor control how they behave in the public eye. We can, however, control our own behaviors and actions so as to present a worthwhile model for our children emulate.

I think parents who let their children look to superstars to be their role models are being lazy and copping out. Just my e-pinion.


December 2nd, 2009 at 3:39 PM ^

How do you plan to stop your kids from looking up to professional athletes if they enjoy athletics? As parents can you control the other people your children up to any more than you can control athletes?

I suspect parents who don't realize their kids will look up to pro athletes (and other public figures) are a bit naive and unrealistic.

EDIT: BTW, I don't think there's anything wrong with looking to athletes (or anyone else) as role models for inspiration or as an example of solid work ethic. If a parent thinks he/she can provide everything to their child, good for them, but to call other parents lazy isn't really fair. [FYI: I don't have kids, so maybe my thoughts will change when I do, but I certainly find inspiration in athletes and other people.]

Blue in Yarmouth

December 3rd, 2009 at 8:28 AM ^

I am not saying I would keep my children from looking up to pro-athletes or anyone else. What I was going for was more the "If I can be a good role model for my children, they won't have to look elsewhere to find someone to look up to" kind of thing.

If I am a good example to them, then when they get to the age to follow things like sports and celebrities, hopefully they will look to the best for their inspiration. I think it is the parents job early on to instill that in them though.

Sorry my post wasn't more understandable.

Sgt. Wolverine

December 2nd, 2009 at 4:51 PM ^

I don't think it has anything to do with parents letting their kids look to superstars. Kids are going to observe and often emulate their parents (good or bad), but in addition to their parents, they're going to look to prominent people who are relevant to their interests. If kids like football, they're going to look at -- and maybe emulate -- prominent football players. If kids like jazz, they're going to look at -- and maybe emulate -- prominent jazz musicians. That's not a failure of parenting; that's just how things work. Kids aren't limited to observing and emulating actions and characteristics of one person.

With that in mind, I think this conversation is relevant. Since kids will observe prominent figures, it's worth discussing which ones have characteristics worth observing and which ones don't.


December 2nd, 2009 at 3:57 PM ^

The Red Wings are definitely full of lots of role models. Numerous players have stayed in Detroit simply because its a good situation, rather then chasing contracts. Ken Holland has even said that this is one of the benefits of having a club full of European players versus North American players, who are typically more greedy.

Clarence Beeks

December 2nd, 2009 at 4:27 PM ^

"Ken Holland has even said that this is one of the benefits of having a club full of European players versus North American players, who are typically more greedy."

That's an interesting comment to make considering that one of the only (if not the only) player to bail out of Detroit for more money was European. I honestly cannot think of one North American player who has left the Red Wings because they were "greedy". Do you have a link for that Holland quote?

Clarence Beeks

December 2nd, 2009 at 5:56 PM ^

Forgot about Martin LaPointe, and that's an obvious brain fart on my part. Sorry about that! If my memory serves correct the Wings more or less let Schneider walk. Could be wrong about that. But yes, I will give you that both of those players did technically leave and make more money with someone else.


December 3rd, 2009 at 2:50 AM ^

The Ken Holland interview was on Red Wings Weekly on FSN last year. Put it this way Beeks, how many European players have stayed around for less money? Pretty much every single one that the Wings wanted to keep. Yes, Happy Hudler is an exception. If I grew up in a socialist country instead of the capitalism capital of the world, I'm sure I'd be a lot more humble to.