In just a few short days some of America's favorite sports figures (some argue role models) were taken down. First Phelps loses some advertisers because he has a picture taken while doing a bong hit. Then ARod gets caught as one of the 104 major league baseball players that used steroids during the 2003 supposed confidential drug test. Phelps' offense is far more minor than ARod's offense. Phelps didn't hurt anyone but himself. ARod cheated (and continues to cheat) millions upon millions of baseball fans.
In Phelps' case the media built this guy up to be some wholesome person who delivered 8 gold medals for the US. Then he does a bong hit, someone takes a picture and wham the media tears this guy down. He loses sponsorships and costs himself millions of dollars. You know what? I don't care if he does pot. I also support any company (Kellogg) who drops him as a spokesperson. The company has their brand to protect and if they bought the media imagery originally and now the media has soured on him, they are within their rights to drop them. Phelps benefited from the imagery and now he is paying a price because he didn't live up to the imagery. Oh well.
Alex Rodriguez is a cheat. He lied in a TV interview with Katie Couric that he never did illegal performance drugs. Clearly he wanted to keep up with everyone else in baseball who was also doing drugs to steal money from fans like us and to steal records from baseball. I wonder how long he took drugs and if he continues to take drugs. Is Derek Jeter the only clean baseball player?
In either case Phelps, ARod, and yes Derek Jeter are not role models. Sports figures shouldn't be role models unless you are well on your way to being a baseball player or Olympic swimmer. Why? You are relying on the media to tell you what kind of people they are. They were given a gift to hit a baseball and there are extremely few people who have this gift. Watch this ad from Nike where Charles Barkley correctly says I am not a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court.
Role models should be common people who do extraordinary things. Has your Dad or Mom started a business and keeps your family safe and well off? You know all about your Dad, right? Why isn't he your role model? How about your Uncle? You get my point.
Perhaps there are bits and pieces of people that you admire. Maybe someone who is cool under fire. Maybe someone who can lead people in battle. Maybe someone who speaks in public well. Modeling yourself after say General Patton when you need to lead a group of people to reach a common goal is fine, but saying Patton is a role model is a little odd. You want to swim like Phelps, when you have a 4th grade swim meet, ok. However, hitting a baseball like ARod now seems totally wrong.
Sports figures were never role models. I think grabbing characteristics from people that you admire is great, but don't fool yourself that you know who these people are. Yes, that includes even Derek Jeter (Side note when we go to Yankees games the whole family wears #2 Jeter jerseys).