The Pros & Cons of Athletes as Role Models

Whether people like it or not, sports celebrities are now more influential than ever before.

And while not all people think athletes as role models are a good thing, the truth is, there are both positive and negative sides of the issue to explore.

In this piece we’ll be answering the age-old question: are athletes good role models?

Why Athletes Are Good Role Models

Although athletes get both negative and positive coverage in the press and in general, the truth is, there are plenty of reasons why it’s a good thing that athletes are role models.

For starters, professional athletes as role models makes sense because there are simply so many to choose from. There’s a handful of widely popular sports, each of which has its own celebrities, stars, and leaders, which means that there’s never a shortage of accomplished people who can share their stories and provide inspiration to all types of audiences.

This diversity means that almost anyone can find an athlete with a similar background who they can relate to and whose message resonates particularly well with a specific group of people.

What’s more, the variety of different examples of success makes it very easy to relate to and the stories that the best role models share can usually be applied to any aspect of life, not just sports performance or achievement.

Another strong argument for good athlete role models is that many of them are overachievers who have incredible discipline and dedication to their craft. These people are the top 0.01% of their sport and have achieved things that most people only aspire to.

That’s why it’s no surprise that the best athlete role models are able to capture the imagination of audiences by sharing their stories – many of them have risen to where they are today from humble beginnings – which can help audiences relate and believe that whatever their aspirations may be, they can achieve it with hard work as well.

Finally, the confidence that most successful athletes possess can be contagious and allow people to believe in themselves and overcome their own limiting beliefs.

Why Athletes Are Bad Role Models

Even though there are many positive role models in sports, the truth is that there is a negative side to athletes as role models in society.

For one thing, it’s important to remember that athletes are regular people, no matter how successful and accomplished they may be.

That means that they will also make mistakes, just as anyone else, but those mistakes are magnified and covered in the press, the result of which can not only disappoint their fans but also serve as a bad example to aspiring athletes and young people.

Another reason why not all professional athletes make good role models is that they don’t always consider themselves to be role models in the first place.

Some athletes are solely focused on their sport and only want to win and experience the success that comes with it. This leads them to not really care about how their public image or personal story impacts people that look up to them.

While most athletes are excellent role models, especially those that have matured and learned from their past mistakes, it’s important to be careful about which athletes to look up to as some sports star role models might not always set the best example.

The Importance of Context

Now that we’ve explored the positives and negatives of athletes as role models, we need to look at the most crucial aspect to be considered – the context behind every situation.

The examples that we explored above clearly show that even though an athlete has the potential to be a very influential, persuasive, and positive role model, each situation has its own nuances that need to be analyzed.

Every athlete, no matter how prominent, has their own backstory, their own character and their own values, so each individual must be carefully considered before deciding if they are fit to be a role model.

In the end, even though this decision is subjective, the signs are usually there – the athletes that are the best role models typically have an impeccable track record (or have at least moved on from past mistakes). They also actively participate as role models in their communities and by using their public platforms.

Sports Speakers 360

When deciding whether a specific athlete is a good role model for your audience, it’s essential to evaluate how he or she fits in with your event, your audience, and the message that you want to get across.

At Sports Speakers 360, we have the experience to help you find the best sports speakers and role models that can make the biggest impact. If you want to learn more, please call 303.747.4087 or fill out our online contact form.

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