Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dear Charles

I may be behind the times, because I just now saw this YouTube video of Charles Barkley. I don’t know if it stirred up any controversy when it was first out, but it sure stirred me up. All morning I have been ranting around the house. But hey, I have a blog and what better place to rant.

Charles says, "I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model…Parents should be role models…. Just because I can dunk a basketball does not mean I should raise your kids."

It burns me up that people want all the fame, glory, and wealth, but no responsibilities as a good role model that often accompanies those things.

I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. Parents should be role models:
A parent can be a role model, but a role model is not necessarily a parent. Parents and role models are two different things, and they have different responsibilities. Here is Wiki’s definition of role model: The term role model first appeared in Robert K. Merton's socialization research of medical students.[1] Merton hypothesized that individuals compare themselves with "reference groups" of people who occupy the social role to which the individual aspires.[1] The term has passed into general use to mean any "person who serves as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others".[2]

By this definition, Charles you are a role model. As a basketball player, your behavior on the court and off is emulated by others. Charles, you say you are not paid to be a role model. Maybe you should give up your TV appearances, your endorsements of products, and all the other things that go with being a famous basketball player – things that you does get paid for besides playing basketball. Face it Charles, when you are in the limelight, you are a role model and you do get paid for it. There are lots of good basketball players out there who do not get the big endorsements, because they are not good role models.

Parents can be and often are role models, and they are so much more. Their responsibilities are endless. There is no need for me to go into all that a parent does. Usually a child only has one set of parents, but he/she may have several role models. Face it, Charles. When a kid looks at a role model, he is not only looking at how well a person does a job, but also how that person conducts him/herself.

Charles, no one is asking you to raise their kids. You are in no way a parent to the kids out there watching you, but you are a role model. If you choose to pump your body full of illegal drugs or steroids or whatever, there will be kids watching and emulating you. These same kids may have great parents telling them not to do drugs and such, they may even be telling their kids not to emulate you at all, but it is you in the limelight getting paid the big bucks. You can be a good role model or a bad one, but what you choose to do on the court and off will affect others.

Charles you are a great basketball player, and I may come to watch your team play someday. Then again, I may not, if you are going to be an ass. I may boycott Nike for making such a stupid video.


Fire Fox said...

Lou, I met Charles Barkley in 1996 when he stayed in the hotel I worked at in Toledo. He was, pardon the expression, a jackass. He had his agent set him up on a date (helloooooo.... he's married...) The date turned out to be the travel agent they had used to book his hotel reservations. Let's just say, I have a very low opinion of him. No morals, no ethics, nothing impressive at all about him. I agree with you about the famous being in the spot light and therefore a candidate for being a role model, however not all good athletes are good people. (As we all know!) We are always hearing about some atrocity that some athlete has committed... Michael Phelps smoking pot, Michael Vick who went to jail for dog fights, Michael Jordon actually shot a Chicago cop and got away with it, Pete Rose the gambler, and of course the imfamous O.J Simpson. I think it's up to each one of us, to weed out the ones who aren't worth our time. (and point it out to our kids as well). We can exercise some control in the way we buy the products that the athlete sells. Is Charles a spokesperson for Nike? Well, I sure won't buy Nike... Behold the power of consumerism! If I am so inclined, I can even write to a sponsor to express my dissatisfaction with their choice as spokesperson. Most folks wouldn't go to that extent... but it is an option. I'm more inclined to believe that the folks who might look up to someone like Barkley, are also the folks who don't know the capital of Indiana or where Pakistan is located or who Ahmandinajad is. Ya know what I mean?

Bag Blog said...

Fire Fox, looks like we are in agreement:)

Buck said...

I agree, too. One assumes a certain amount of responsibility when one accepts the "big bucks." What a person does with that responsibility is entirely up to him or her, of course. But said person shouldn't be surprised or offended (or make dumb-ass videos) if their antics and general boorishness are rejected by folks with mainstream values.

Buck said...

Off-topic, sorta... Michael Phelps smoking pot is an atrocity, Alison? I think Phelps' actions ain't in the same league as the other examples you cited. IM(ns)HO, of course. ;-)

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

Why would you be surprised at these statements? Proverbs makes it pretty clear what kind of people these are...no need to get all upset about it...that's just the way the world spins.

I gotta agree with Buck here, with this disclaimer (i have not, and more than likely never will, smoke a joint) but throwing Phelps into that pile of degenerates is just over the top. Legally, its a misdemeanor, not the criminal felony most make it out to be.

Bag Blog said...

Piper, "surprise" is not the word, but probably "irritated" by the video is more like it. "Selfish" comes to mind also when I think of these guys.

Buck, I'm with you and Jay with the same disclaimer. Phelps biggest mistake was in letting down his young followers, but I do chalk it up to being young and occasionally stupid himself.

Bo once said something like "the OSU basketball team reads like a list of America's most wanted."

Dale said...

AMEN!!! Lou it's funny that we chose to rant about basically the same thing on this day. My rant was more directed towards the MLB player. You hit the nail on the head with this one girl!

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

Which is why me and the NBA do not play well together. The MLB and the NFL both have its share of problemed children...but the NBA seems to have the major shareholders on the market for prima donna idiots.

One more hit on Phelps (hah kinda punny)...he's a college kid, its part of their world, i don't condone it, because at that age i think it has a serious downside leading to a deeper ocean of illicits...but once again, what would people have said had he been caught with a beer in his hand? Probably not more than a slap on the hand...but since it was rolled herb...he's branded. I just think folks need to wake up and smell the...hops. And please understand Firefox, this is NOT directed at you, but more to the masses the mainstream religioso pharisaical mafia that love to yell CRUCIFY at the slightest fault of anyone who steps out of line with their perceived world view/moral code. While they themselves have rotting skeletal remains under cover.

Honestly...King Charles' statements didn't bother me (even at the time he said them when i was unmarried), if you're foolish enough of a parent to have your child idolize him then you have other issues to deal with. That said, i do get what you are saying about the responsibility we have as adults and the children all around us daily that watch how we respond to life...and we have the serious task of teaching them discipline and control of self.

Jo Castillo said...

Now you know why I don't watch and support professional sports. All they want is our money, they are unconcerned about fans or the influence they are.

We love the UT Baseball team and root for them to do well and then???? Look at Roger Clemens. Sad....

Fire Fox said...

Phew... I'm a day late on getting round to re-reading the comments... on the record... I do not consider Phelps to be in the same league as the other degenerates mentioned... he just came to mind at the time I was writing because he'd just recently been in the news.