Yes, You Are a Role Model!

Public figures, despite how much they wish it weren't so, are role models for everyone who follows their line of entertainment. Of all people, professional athletes should understand this. Some do. Unfortunately, some don't.

Roger Clemens recently unretired from Major League Baseball for the how-manyeth time. Why? He could make a boatload of money, and because he wanted a championship. Here's what he said at his unretirement party:

Make no mistake about it, I've come back to do what they only know how to do here with the Yankees, and that's win a championship. Anything else is a failure, and I know that.

Unfortunately, American society agrees with him. Everything in our "we're number one" society proclaims that number two is scum. Fortunately, this sentiment is wrong, but it's terrible when a professional athlete tells kids that if they're not the best, they are worthless.

If that's all Roger Clemens thinks about baseball, I wish he would just retire again. Mr. Clemens' former pitching teammate for the Boston Red Sox, Bruce Hurst, would never say something as inane as that not taking first place is a failure. Bruce teaches youth that just being able to play is a victory. Bruce Hurst is a much better role model than Roger Clemens. Too bad that Roger Clemens is the one making the professional comeback.

In a 1993 Nike commercial, former NBA basketball player claimed "I am not a role model." He qualified it by saying, "Parents should be role models." He got it half right. Charles Barkley was a role model, and had an effect on the coarsening of professional basketball. Because of Charles Barkley, people became preconditioned for role models Dennis Rodman, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant.

On the other hand, class acts like John Stockton and Dwyane Wade clearly understand that they are role models. They understand that their actions and their words are consumed by thousands of people. They speak of their families and values that should be important for all.

Hopefully we as parents are performing our roles as role models, specifically that we point out to our children which professional athletes do and which don't understand their model role.


  1. I am becoming less and less of a Clemens fan. Not that I ever was a big fan. I prefer Randy Johnson. Too bad he isn't having a very good year. Hopefully, he will pull out of his slump.

  2. We have autographs by both Clemens and Hurst. Both were kind and nice men. I do not see why you had to trash Clemens if you were looking to praise Hurst?

    Do you have an understanding of how much money Clemens has donated and donates to youth baseball? What he has done for youth sports in Houston? Where does MLB get its money it uses to help RBI? To have a program Hurst can teach at? Wait, I know, it is from the money earned by people paying to watch people play! Who do think more people paid to see, Clemens or Hurst?

    Do you know why he retires and unretires? Baseball contract rules require it. He does not want to pitch a full season for a few reasons; one his age, two he wants to spend more time with his family. So he can not be on a roster at the beginning, there is also the luxury tax…on and on. I believe him also when he says he does not know if he wants to pitch or if he will be able to upon seasons end. I guess that makes him shallow.

    Why should he choose to play for a team that is not winning? It is his job, they pay the most and in professional sports it is about winning. You must think Lombardi was full of it too? If you think that sends a wrong message to kids, you are right if it is your kids and you do not know how to explain it. If you can not explain to a child the difference between MLB and Little League is, I suggest you know nothing about sports. I also suggest as a person who some little bit of experience with this game that it is possible to be competitive and humble at the same time. It is possible to strive for championships and learn to deal with a loss. Maybe your problem with Clemens how he played and his reputation? If so, again, I do not think you understand the game. Hurst wanted to win as much as him and was not afraid to pitch inside. My goodness, it is baseball for pity sakes.

    Your summation regarding role models confuses me I must admit. To my knowledge Clemens has never been accused of, arrested for or been convicted of any crimes. The other men you mention have. Not so sure that is fair.

    Finally, if you would like to know how you might help RBI in Utah, let me know, I can help. Roger knows already and is!

  3. Frank Staheli is our role model.

  4. pgwarner,

    Thank you for the interesting information and clarification. I have no doubt Clemens is generally a good guy. My point is that when he says such inane things he gives people a bad impression of what professional sports is all about. It doesn't matter that many people expect a championship or bust. That still doesn't make it right.

    I was not comparing Clemens with Dennis Rodman, et al. I said that Barkley's brash comments led the way in the NBA to worse brashness from the likes of Rodman. I think, by the way, that Clemens is a far better role model than Barkley.


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