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The easy answer to whether or not athletes are role models is yes, they are. Athletes are everywhere; from television, to radio, to print publications, one would be hard pressed to spend 20 minutes walking the streets without seeing the face of some sort of athlete.

However, many athletes do not act as role models. They paint the town red, frequenting strip clubs, dance clubs, and other establishments which harbor trouble. They do drugs, womanize, and wave around guns like Yosemite Sam. Hell, at times the last few years, it seemed more Cincinnati Bengals were showing u in the police blotter than the post-game box score.

Over the years, athletes have done their best to rove they are the furthest thing from a role model. Examples include:

-Michael Vick. The former quarterback phenom is currently playing his only ball in prison, where he is serving a 23 month sentence for his role in a dog fighting ring. Vick disgraced his family, friends, and organization, sending his off-season committing federal crimes, rather than study tape and learn the playbook.

-Plaxico Burress. The soon to be former New York Giant essentially ended his playing days in the Big Apple, and most likely brought a three and a half year prison term onto himself, bringing a fully loaded weapon into a New York nightclub and accidentally shooting himself last Friday night. Talk about putting yourself in a bad spot.

Adam Jones. Good ole Pacman. His laundry list of felonies, misdemeanors, and run-ins with the law is far too long to name here. He has been suspended by the league countless times for alcohol, drug, and assault related activities. It seems the poor guy can not go to a strip club without causing a scene, especially the time he and his crew were responsible for the shooting of a bouncer who is now paralyzed.

-O.J. Simpson, Ray Lewis, Ray Carruth all have been accused, with Simpson and Lewis eventually “acquitted”, of murder.

The list could go on all day. Trouble always seems to find athletes. If I had a kid, I surely would not want to look up to most athletes.

However, athletes are not asking to be role models. Their giant exposure, with their enormous television contracts, day long sporting programs, and the non-stop blogging sub-culture force role model status onto athletes.

They are merely playing a children’s game, doing what so many of us did throughout our childhood. Athletes will continue to be role models, like it or not, as long as society continues to hold them to such a high pedigree. Until then, the firefighters, teachers, and every day hardworking Joe’s of the world will continue to be overshadowed.

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