Sports Not Role Model

I Am Not A Role Model

The Wisdom of Charles Barkley

By Daniel Muniz

I am not a role model …parents should be role models.
-Charles Barkley

That classic phrase uttered by basketball superstar Charles Barkley so many years ago created quite a sensation. His numerous critics and quite a few parents were shocked by his apparent disregard of the millions of kids that idolized him. But Sir Charles is no stranger to audacity and this time he spoke a haunting message that has reverberated ever since.

But perhaps the greatest indignation he created was of letting parents know that they shouldn’t be comfortable palming off their social responsibilities to superstars. Instead, he suggests that parents ought to do some of the actual parenting themselves. Just because an athlete makes millions of dollars and is in the media spotlight doesn’t mean that parents are off the hook in presenting a positive role model to their kids.

Charles Barkley had indeed done something that no celebrity had ever done before; proclaim that parents should take the responsibility of molding the character of their children.

Unfortunately, much of society wants to use the celebrity status as a form of parenthood. And on the other side of the coin, there are too many purists who are turned off by a sport or by a particular team if it has someone who is a miscreant.

Athletes are simply people who make a lot of money and are in the media spotlight. That’s it!

And the people who can make the greatest impact on the lives of children are their own parents. Plain and simple except for the people who do not want to shoulder that kind of responsibility.

As for myself, I like to take that message from Charles Barkley to heart. An athlete is just another form of entertainment. I personally want to be the individual who makes the biggest impression on my own children instead of some spoiled celebrity. Likewise, I won’t let a miscreant celebrity spoil a form of entertainment that I thoroughly enjoy, such as basketball.

I live in a city that has a basketball team of amazing champions. Many of these athletes, such as the retired NBA center, David Robinson, has remarkable integrity and has made such a positive contribution to the city of San Antonio Texas. But in all reality, David Robinson’s character is irrelevant to me even though he is a good person.

I may not be perfect and at certain trying times, I may not even the best parent possible but I want to be as good as I can and assert the best influence in spite of my imperfections and shortfalls. David Robinson may very well be a great role model but I feel that I can excel as a better example on a day to day basis to my own children. Now it would be nice to make as much money as a superstar but that is a different story.

And inversely, if an athlete is a real dope, then so be it.

I am not going to allow his or her bad behavior to take a dominant role in my children’s day to day life. I won’t stop enjoying the performance of a team just because one or more teammates are idiots. If I were on a crusade to isolate myself from all of the world’s idiots, then I would probably be living in a very lonely place. We are always going to be in a world filled with jerks and I don’t care. And the reason I don’t mind is because I am not going to allow their bad behavior to influence my life or the lives of any of my children.

So if athletes do a great job while performing for their team, then that is great. If they are involved in criminal activity, then they are innocent until proven guilty. And if they are proven guilty, then justice should be rendered to them. But their criminal activity still has no impact on my life unless that activity was done to me. As a result, I like to view athletes in a more neutral sense.

I don’t care about their drama, or their lifestyles, or even their virtuous character. What matters to me is my life and the lives of each member of my family.