How is everyone doing? It has been a while since I have written a FanPost so here is a quick update about me; I left my cussie desk job in DC and took a job supporting the military in Kuwait. I am not looking forward to watching the football games this year because they are going to be at 0100 in the morning (and we can't drink here). However I did get club seats to the 49ers game in London this year, so that is a plus.
With all the talk of Reggie Bush losing his Heisman I want to talk about role models for a bit. This post is along the same lines as Fooch's Hall of Fame post which can be found here: http://www.ninersnation.com/2010/5/24/1484801/off-the-field-conduct-and-hall-of. Two quick things: 1. This post will not be ‘preachie'; 2. I don't have children. I am also not going to defend people who use performance enhancing drugs as I believe that is cheating.
Wikipedia says a role model is a ‘person who serves as an example, whose behaviour is emulated by others'. We all had our role models that we looked up to while growing up; whether it was an athlete, a musician, an actor or a political figure. Now with a new generation of individuals growing up are the current role models better or worse than the previous generations? Let's look at some people.
Reggie Bush: Arguably Bush is one of the best college running backs of all time. His Heisman shows that he was the best college player that year; in fact at the time he had the 2nd most first place Heisman votes of all time, 2nd only to OJ Simpson. However it has recently come to light that Bush accepted ‘lavish gifts' from agents to include a limo ride to the Heisman celebration and a house to live in while attending USC. But does this make him less of a role model? What does it teach people? Can't I take from this that if I try hard and I am the best at something that I will be rewarded for my efforts?
Bill Walsh: This one hits close to home. Walsh is the best football coach of all time (I don't care if you disagree with my article but you can't argue that point). He had an eye for talent and took a 2-12 team to the super bowl in 2 years. But everyone seems to over look the fact that he neglected his wife most of the time while coaching and in fact was having an affair with a journalist. Also he insisted his son was dying of leukemia when it was really AIDS. But do those things matter? If your son said "Dad I want to be a football coach like Bill Walsh" would you be upset; what if he said "Dad I want to be a football coach like Mike Leach?"
Superheroes: While fictional, we all looked up to superheroes while we were kids. However Sharon Lamb, distinguished professor of mental health at University of Massachusetts-Boston says "Today's superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he's aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity. When not in superhero costume, these men, like Iron Man, exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns." She says about past comic book superheroes "comic book heroes of the past did fight criminals, she said, "but these were heroes boys could look up to and learn from because outside of their costumes, they were real people with real problems and many vulnerabilities."" Am I to assume it is okay to say "I want to be like Iron Man" but it is not okay to say "I want to be like Tony Stark?"
Mark Zuckerberg: The youngest billionaire in the world, Mark Zuckerberg is someone we all strive to be like... right? The upcoming movie "The Social Network" apparently doesn't portray Zuckerberg in the best light. The movie talks about how Zuckerberg "drank himself silly and had lots of sex with coeds."
Well I believe that is enough examples. What I want to know is there a ratio of good to bad that an individual has to fall in to be considered a ‘role model.' If someone is 70% good and 30% bad does that make them a role model; what about if someone is 60% good and 40% bad, how about 50/50? If Reggie Bush becomes the best rusher of all time, we will care about what he did in college? If your son says "I want to be a running back like OJ Simpson" will you be upset? Can we forget about Ricky Williams' pot issues if he continues to perform like he has been? Is Pete Rose a good role model for children? What about Tiger Woods?