Stop Expecting Professional Athletes To Be Role Models For Your Children

Football player, Richard Sherman sort of lost it in a post-game interview after yesterday’s Seattle Seahawks game.

You’ve probably seen it, but if not, here it is:

So maybe he had poor sportsmanship and acted a little foolishly, but in a way I get it. Getting amped up and believing you’re the best is a big part of being a player in a high stakes game such as this. This isn’t pee-wee football, this is the NFL. I’m not a football player, obviously, but these guys need to amp themselves up to take themselves to a place where they can smash into groups of full-grown men on a field. Blood, sweat, and tears, anger and extreme confidence is a part of the process. Yeah he was cocky, but you’ve just crowned him king of the NFC. The pedestal is pretty high.

I hear a lot of comments such as these guys should be role models and that they need to watch what they say because kids watch these games. I find that problematic for several reasons. Just because the game is on when your kids are up and they want to watch it too, doesn’t mean it necessarily should be catered to your kids. If that’s what you choose to let your kids watch, that’s on you. You’re the role model. And it’s never really been  just a football game either. It’s primetime entertainment that yes, contains football. The commercials that are played are a bit more risqué that other family friendly shows, the players at times may be uncensored and many fans at the game are inebriated and cheering and yelling at how terrible the players and refs are. Some Seahawks fans were throwing food at injured player, NaVorro Bowman for goodness sakes. There isn’t much about the culture of professional football that grants it role model status. And I’m fine with that. Yet we insist on remaining in the dream that it’s a family show with role models. How about reiterating the fact that anyone on television is there for our entertainment and not there to replace good judgment. I get how professional sports players are something kids can aspire to being. Just like they might aspire to be lawyers or doctors, but that doesn’t mean all doctors and lawyers are people you want your kids to emulate in every aspect of their lives. Because they are people too. It’s the role they should aspire to, not the person.

I enjoy watching MTV Music Awards and even though some of the music is okay for kids to listen to on the radio (some), I know what I’m getting into and I wouldn’t watch the show when my kids are in the room; and on top of that, I really hope to instill in them that these are millionaires or billionaires that are paid to put on a show. You don’t do what they do. Even when you, kids, are on stage or on the sports field, you still need to act in a way you and I, your mom, can be proud of. Kids deserve to learn sportsmanship from their coaches and parents, not personalities on television. Just because kids might look up to entertainers doesn’t mean they should nor should you stop telling them every day until they get it, that they should not.

Speaking of children’s sports- go to any game and watch how so much of the poor behavior is adult made. We all know what sorts of things you hear in the stands coming from parents who push their kids too hard and from bystanders who scream at the refs for making the “wrong” calls. There’s so much about sports that us adults take so serious and twist in a disgusting way. We’ve seen people get killed at little league games because of the anger sports bring out of us.

Last night while scrolling up and down my Twitter and Facebook feeds a large number of viewers were live-posting their frustrations or taunting the opposing teams. How many times did I see player so and so was this or that derogatory term or grown men exclaiming how much of a (mostly derogatory feminine terms) the opposing players were. There’s just a whole lot of adrenaline and anger and emotions that we throw into the games. Some of it is the nature of the beast, I suppose, but it’s wise to remember, how you want to send your kids out into this world is primarily on you. Stop passing the buck to guys on television.

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