Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Heroes Or Overpaid Performers?

I'm not sure what the latest scandal will be by the time this is posted, but right now Dallas is dealing with a Cowboys player who has already this season been arrested for stealing a pack of underwear from a mall in my home town, and more recently was involved in a "domestic dispute" with the woman who bore his child. Ordinarily, this might not make the newspaper, except that the person in question is a Dallas Cowboys player. And he's not acting like someone I'd want my children to emulate.

I suppose things are different now, or perhaps I'm just becoming a curmudgeon in my older years, but I can recall a time when sports figures recognized that they were looked up to by those of us who wish we could perform as well as they on the diamond or gridiron or track or links or... You get the picture. And unless my memory is failing, these people acted, at least when they were in public, with the knowledge they were role models. But that was then and this is now.

I was fortunate enough to be in a baseball camp once with Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and other great players. I recall talking with Moose Skowron, a Yankee star at one time, discussing modern teams. Moose pretty much hit the nail on the head when he said, "Yeah, back then we were a team. We knew about our responsibilities to the public and to each other. Now you've got 25 guys with brief cases, each one with their own agenda."

So what do you think? Are athletes nothing but overpaid performers? Or are there still some of them who can be pointed to as role models? I invite you to sound off (but nicely, of course).

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