Beyond the Buzzer
Players are paid to play, but should they be required to do more? It’s obvious that their talent is why they are in the public eye in the first place, but do they ‘owe’ model behavior to us now that they’ve made it big?
I don’t believe it is a requirement to be a “good person” when you’re an athlete, but it certainly helps with public image.
It’s no secret that scandal is a constant in the sports world. And the public knows the minute a popular athlete has been involved in something not-so-glamorous thanks to social media and gossip sites. But amidst all of the scandal associated with sports stars, there are some that choose to use their “fame” for good.
I recently read an article about a Division I basketball player at Cal State Northridge. Michael Lizarraga is a student athlete that others can look up to for many reasons, but most notably because he is the only deaf Division I player in college basketball. Lizarraga is an inspiration to other hearing-impaired future athletes. He was a standout student athlete at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the nation’s only liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing, but had dreams of playing for the big boys. Lizarraga proved to himself and others that he could compete at the highest level (Division I), and in doing so gave hope to deaf children and teens who aspired to do the same.
In addition to people like Lizarraga, there are many other athletes who participate largely in charities and organizations. When it comes down to it, professional sports stars are the best at what they do and they alone must decide how to live their lives. But it is refreshing to hear when athletes use their elevated status for good.
Do you think professional athletes should work on maintaining a “wholesome” image to the general public?