The recent focus of the American media on role models, especially in sports has raised eyebrows with many role models being caught on the wrong. Under these circumstances, it is imperative that people who are positive role models are identified (McClellan par. 1-10). In this paper, I explore two players, Tim Tebow (a Positive role model) and Michael Vick (a negative role model).
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Tim Tebow, a Positive role model
According to Pedro, Tebow is the story Americans love to hear. Unlike Michael Vick of Philadelphia Eagles who served two years in Jail, Pedro points out that the need for positive role models who people can look up to gives Tebow an upper hand. Therefore Tebow is a positive role model who people can look up to, unlike other role models (Pedro par. 1-10).
Pedro mentions sportsmen who people looked up to in the past and concludes that the current positive role model that people should look at is Tim Tebow. Though Pedro points out that no one might agree with his suggestion, Tebow has capability to beat all role models that people look up to, especially in sports. According to Pedro, Tebow’s attributes as a positive role model go beyond the duties of a pro-athlete.
This is because of charitable activities he is engaged in, for instance building orphanages in his home (Philippines) and helping fans with serious ailments while freely interacting with them. In addition, Pedro perceives Tebow as being close to God, something which other role models aren’t (Pedro par. 1-10).
According to Pedro, Tebow is the role model needed by Americans. Contrary to what other role models do, Pedro suggests that Tebow practically implements what he preaches e.g. praising God before and after a sporting event. Pedro further points out that Tebow is a unique role model who comes out as a shining light in the darkness created by other role models and pro-athletes (Pedro par. 1-10).
According to Pedro, people anticipate Tebow’s failure because “they can’t stand what he believes in” (Pedro par. 4). Pedro also quotes one of Tebow’s fans who looked to him as a role model. The fan commented that “People will celebrate guys who rape girls in night clubs, kill dogs, or shoot themselves in the leg, but a guy who prays and builds a hospital for orphans, no one wants to hear about him” (Pedro par. 3).
This therefore places Tebow as the best positive role model. Therefore according to Pedro, Tebow is the best role model as he is used by God in a unique manner to serve people and spread the gospel. Therefore, Pedro asserts that any person who jeers Tebow jeers the very little Good which is left in the world (Pedro par. 9).
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Michael Vick as a negative role model
According to Rueb, Michael Vick is among high profile sportsmen who have been incarcerated at the peak of their career. This is because of charges and illegal accusations which have continued to face him, such as blood doping, dog fighting and use of steroids.
Rueb has suggested that the case of Michael Vick has tarnished athletes and rendered them not to be called role models. At a time when sporting activities are considered to be a profession in the United States, most athletes consider being role models as part of their sporting career.
However, as far as Michael Vick’s career is concerned, it appears not to be the case. Many people (including Rueb) have argued that Michael Vick is not a good role model, especially to children. These perceptions have elicited mixed reactions and heated debate, especially at a time when Vick has been visiting schools and interacting with children (Rueb par. 1-10).
According to Rueb, Michael Vick should not be celebrated and is a negative role model to kids. Rueb further argues that though Vick can be free, having a life and earning a living, the fact that he is greatly featured in magazines such as Sports Illustrated Cover does not make him a positive role model.
Rueb cites the reason that sports magazines are only for those who do well in sports and does not mean that Vick is a positive role model by virtue of being featured in these magazines (Rueb par. 1-10).
Rueb is opposed to Vick being invited to schools to speak to Kids. According to Rueb, Vick should not be allowed to visit schools, as children idolize him and treat him like a role model despite his illegal activities which led to incarceration for four months.
Rueb also points out that though Vick may be perceived as a changed man especially after learning his lessons, schools should look for better role models who can speak to kids. According to Rueb, the fact that Vick went to jail does not mean he learnt his lessons, and therefore can not be a role model, especially to children (Rueb par. 1-10).
Rueb also sees the act of visiting schools by Vick as an attempt to rebuild his tarnished reputation, get publicity and earn more money. Though Rueb acknowledges that Vick might be a changed man, he faults schools for giving him the platform to speak to kids, as some kids might have the perception that nothing is wrong with getting into problems, as long as one re-establishes himself. In addition, he suggests that kids might idolize the wrongs Vick has done as they are unable to form their own opinions, unlike adults (Rueb par. 1-10).
In this paper, I explored two role models, Tim Tebow and Michael Vick. While some people are regarded by their fans as positive role models, others are not. It has been pointed out that almost all role models have affected their fans in one way or another due to their stature in sports, therefore most of them may be called role models. However, a true picture of a positive role model can be explained by the example of Tim Tebow (McClellan par. 1-10).
McClellan, Brian. Death of the Sports Role Model, 24 Aug. 2007.
Pedro, Heizer. Tim Tebow is the Role Model Americans Need but Not the One We Deserve, 11 Jan. 2012.
Rueb, Darren. Michael Vicks Should Not Be Role Model To Young Kids, 2010.