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Steve McNair and the Perception of Athletes

I'm not sure I understand this at all…so we're supposed to ignore the major character flaws of an athlete because he was a warrior on the field and was a major contributor to his community?  I'm sorry, but that just doesn't fly with me.  Here was a married man with four children running around with a woman nearly half his age, which appears to have ultimately gotten him killed.  If this were a politician or CEO, the word going around with this story in the media would be “scandal”, not “tragedy”.

For some reason, athletes get a lot more latitude with their personal lives than most people do.  If you knew a 36-year-old who was dating a 20-year-old on the side of their marriage, there would almost certainly be tons of gossip at the water cooler and over the backyard fences.  And if they were killed, even if they were a pillar of the community, more people would be saying “they got what was coming to them” than “oh, that's such a shame”.

Now, I'm not saying that Steve McNair is the devil and should rot in hell, but that we should hold him (and every other celebrity, for that matter) to the same standards that we do for everyone else in our lives.  For me, I'm sorry to say that means that McNair's extracurriculars are a major black mark on an athlete who played the game the right way and was respected on the field.  And to simply ignore that mark is an injustice to our children, who view these athletes as role models.

Published inculturesports

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