Elite Sports People have an obligation to be role models to society.
The concept of role models in sport is one of the most debated topics in the Australian media. Much debate surrounds whether or not professional athletes should be classed as role models or not.
The debate particularly rages in the Australian Football League (AFL) where many recent problems with player behavior has caused increased scrutiny and debate on the role model issue.
Ultimately, it will be argued that AFL players are obliged to be role models, regardless of their personal opinion on the matter.
This will firstly be analysed by discussing exactly what a role model is and their typical traits. Then the focus will ...view middle of the document...
This is reflective of total club memberships which are 574,091. This trend continues with viewing figures with an aggregate TV audience of 116,612,478, 4000 more than the NRL.
One of the few aspects where Australian Rules doesn’t dominate is in junior participation. It is the third most played sport by boys aged 5-14 with a share of 13.8 per cent of total sports played behind swimming (16.5 per cent) and Soccer (22.2 per cent). This doesn’t improve with women either as only 0.9 per cent of females aged 5 – 14 participated in organised Australian Rules.
Regardless of the participation rate, the AFL is obviously the most popular sporting competition in Australia. Unsurprisingly, this popularity leads to a high profile of players and a placing of some on a pedestal. This is deserved as they are representing Australia, are paid large sums of money and seen as perfect examples of health.
They are looked upon as national heroes. Because of the aspects they are looked up to with great admiration by children. It is through this immense and dually deserved popularity that controversially leads to AFL players often being labeled as role models.
We see them on television, read about them in books and magazines and hear about them on radio, but what exactly is a role model
According to Robert Brienzo, a senior lecturer at Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts, role models are, “A personality who possesses non flashy subtle traits, which influence culture in a socially successful, long term or day-by-day fashion.”
This means that a role model is a person fictitious or real whose personality or traits have a positive influence on people and society. A role model is a person whose individual beliefs are idealised and made an example of for people to try to emulate.
Evidently, a role model is decided upon by their traits and characteristics. An online survey performed in 2003, by Matt Starcevich (Ph.D.) attempted to locate exactly what traits a role model possesses.
The most popular were found to be: humility, respect, intelligence, good habits and commitment.
This goes to show that being successful yet modest about achievements is a key factor in role models. Good habits are an integral part of role model as these should inspire the individual to improve their own habits. Commitment means that the role model must be a person of action rather than just words.
The labeling of AFL players as role models is an extremely controversial topic. According to James Krehbiel, the idea of labeling AFL players as role models is simply because society is confusing heroes and role models, when in fact they are two very different things.
A hero is a person whose content of character is less important, their power and status is more central compared to their behavior and integrity. In a rush to embrace heroes, we ignore their humanity. They aren’t seen as real people as it would diminish the significance of their existence in one’s lives.
AFL players tend to sit right...