Every week we have another story about a sportsman or team behaving inappropriately. I am always amused at the “holy then thou” attitude of the press and the mock disgust expressed by commentators. Really if they were honest, the press love when this stuff explodes on to our screens especially if there happens to be some footage or photos to go along with the lurid details.
Two issues stand out for me in these scandals.
- Why do they get into this trouble in the first place?
- Why should we expect them to be role models when alot of the population are doing exactly the same things themselves?
The easy answer to question 1 is generally, they are too young, with too much time on their hands and too much money to handle responsibly. The harder answer is that we as a society are letting them down by not providing sufficient education and support to help them cope.
Elite sportsman are generally determined individuals who have had to make significant sacrifices to reach the highest levels of their chosen sport. They are used to doing things at 100% so why can’t we expect that when having fun they push the acceptable barriers whether that be when gambling, drinking, drugs or sexual conquests. All of these activities look very attractive when you have time to burn, need to relax from the stress of high level competion and money burning a hole in your pocket.
Do sports bodies do enough to help them? I don’t know the answer to that question to answer with certainty but it appears that these issues are on the radar of the administrators. I would like to see more education at school on life skills that might help address some of these issues especially learning about money and success. Our childern have so much access to danger in many forms from such an early age. I like how we are less secretive about many of the issues confronting our youth today and would be loathe to go back to innocent bliss that some advocate. I think this just exposes the innocent to exploitation especially when you realise all the misinformation that passes as knowledge these days.
Finally I would like to touch on the role model issue. I believe it is most unfair of us to think that sports people will act 100% correctly at all times. How many of us if we were famous would stand up to the scrutiny? ( and yes guys if you think I’m talking about you, believe me when I say I am not pointing any fingers in your direction hmmmmm!!!!) I know most of the sporting teams I have played in have had their share of men behaving badly. It would be a very dull life if we didn’t have at least a bit of mischief.
Real life sometimes is ugly and raw so why do we expect that our fellow man is going to be squeaky clean just because they are famous. I don’t have to like a sportsman or their behaviour to appreciate their talent or my desire to watch them perform.
And really let’s not get started on our politicians…..