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The Mass Media

Calling Out All Famous Athletes

ROCHESTER, NY - AUGUST 14: Tiger Woods of the USA wipes his forehead on the seventh green during the first round of the 85th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on August 14, 2003 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire
ROCHESTER, NY – AUGUST 14: Tiger Woods of the USA wipes his forehead on the seventh green during the first round of the 85th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on August 14, 2003 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

When the news broke late last year that Tiger Woods had slept with at least a half dozen women, it brought an interesting question to the forefront. Are there truly any good hearted athletes out there with no skeletons in their closet? In other words, if easily the most famous, popular, and respected athlete is not in that description, then who is? Tiger by all accounts had the life. He had more money than any third would country could imagine of receiving. He had a drop dead gorgeous wife who had more hits on Google than he had on golf balls. He had every sponsor an athlete could dream of having. So what exactly was so terrible about his life that repeatedly cheating on his wife sounded like a good idea?

Tiger is not the first athlete to go down this road, nor will he be the last. The fact that the majority of the most popular athletes in the world today have done something distasteful or irresponsible is a scary thought in itself. Take for example, everyone’s favorite athlete and boy wonder, Tom Brady. He had a child out of wedlock. Who else comes to mind? Kobe Bryant? Does the word Colorado come to anybody’s mind? How about Alex Rodriguez? He is way too easy to pick on but his two most famous incidents involve steroids and cheating on his wife with Madonna. For the hockey fans, Dany Heatley comes to mind. He killed a woman while driving way too fast while being under the influence.

There are plenty more too. Recent news reported that Shaq has joined the Tiger club and has cheated on his wife repeatedly as well. There is even a report that he impregnated one of the women and has been paying her off so she keeps her mouth shut. Besides Tiger, Shaq has to be considered the second most popular athlete. Even though none of this can be confirmed, it is still disappointing that these athletes cannot play by the rules.

Aside from them, other well known athletes come to mind. Remember when Ray Lewis was charged with murder in an Atlanta night club only to be later acquitted? Or remember when Jason Varitek cheated on his wife with a Red Sox field reporter? Or even Dirk Nowitzki. His girlfriend was arrested last summer on drug and fraud charges. He was with her while she was committing these crimes. Even Mike Vick. He had the NFL in his hands, he was the human joystick in the Madden games, he was known by everybody. That was until he was arrested on felony dog fighting. Vick did his time with two years in a high facility prison in Kansas, but that still made him realize that he is not invincible.

A lot of athletes think they are invincible. Because they threw the game winning touchdown pass, or scored the game-winning basket, or hit the game winning homerun, they think that the laws of America or the laws of society do not apply. A lot of this has to do with the power that is given when being famous. Nothing has to be paid for and every average person will sit in mud if it means Tiger Woods can walk over them. Not all athletes are like this. Tim Tebow is the definition of what an athlete should be. Tebow is beyond grateful for what he has, gives his time to charity, and expects nothing in return for it. What Tebow does is what he feels is right and what any famous person should do. 

Players like Kevin Youkilis and Jon Lester are the same way. Youkilis has his own foundation and is with charity seemingly all the time. While Lester had cancer young in his career and has since learned to not take life for granted. He loves what he has and cherishes every moment. Ray Allen was given away Thanksgiving meals to poor and section 8 housing families while also finding time to read books for school kids. 

The point to all of this is that there is a way to have fun and be famous while also being within the rules. I am not saying all athletes need to be like Tim Tebow but I am saying there is no room for athletes like Tiger Woods and Shaq. If sleeping around is the best part about being a professional, then do not get married or seriously involved with anyone until the ride is over. Also, it is definitely cool to have favorite athletes but most of them should not ever be considered role models. I say this with a grain of salt because on the field they are great, off the field, the part the average Joe does not see, is where the true person comes out. And for most of them, it is something that would crush many, many fans.