When discussing the topic of professional athletes as role models you must look at it from all sides. The public expects these kids coming into the professional ranks to instantly become role models. They believe that with the amount of money being paid these days, it is their obligation to become a models citizen the instant their name is called on draft day. This is a valid point and it is not hard to see where they are coming from. From the athlete's perspective how can you expect someone to change their lifestyle and the people they surround themselves with after they sign for millions of dollars? With the astronomical figures professional athletes make these days it makes it even more difficult for them to drop life long friends and change their way of life because they are now perceived as a role model. Dropping these life long friends becomes increasingly difficult when these guys finally make it, because those friends that may hurt how they are perceived have been with them through the thick and thin.
Athletes are role models whether they like it or not and no matter what they do there are always going to be groups of people that find something wrong with what they do. I believe it is up to the parents to help their kids in understanding that it is o.k. to look up to an athlete for what he does and what he accomplishes on the playing field. But off the court are their private lives and we as a society should be respectful of that.
Being respectful of players and their personal lives is something now that will probably never be able to happen because of the media. As the professor from Southern Cal said, the media is in control when it comes to how players are viewed. Everyone has skeletons in their closet and if the media wants to dig deep enough they can find something on everyone. As much as I love ESPN, I absolutely hate how all we hear about are the negatives when it comes to athletes. The media is r