Professional athletes have the decision to maintain a positive or a negative image in the eye of the public. Some athletes realize this, and take the responsibility to make good decisions, thus enhancing a fan base full of children who look up to them. Roberto Clemente, a baseball Hall of Fame outfielder, always felt that “children were a very significant part of our society and should be cared for and influenced in positive ways” (Smith). The only problem today is how “athletes make so much money and have so much exposure” (Smith). With money comes great power and responsibility, and some professional athletes have thrown away their careers with scandals, bankruptcy, and crime. That is why every athlete needs to “take care of themselves and their images outside of the lines of the game” (Smith). The popular athletes spend a lot of time on camera, whether playing their sport or featuring in a commercial. However, the advertisements play a key role in what the athlete represents, and what the athlete essentially wants the viewers to go purchase. One of the main advertisements an athlete will endorse is food, which has potential to damage the athlete’s reputation.
Food commercials are essential to the professional athlete’s image, because they portray what they put into their bodies to maintain the fittest, healthiest, and most appropriate bodies they can provide for their sport. Yet, it seems a bit strange when watching commercials featuring athletes gulping some Coca-Cola, or enjoying some sodium and calorie-packed meal from McDonald’s. Since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, McDonald’s has owned the title of the “official restaurant of the Olympic Games” (Longman). This statement has been featured in TV, radio and billboard ads, and may give the impression that all Olympic athletes eat McDonald’s. Any adult with adequate knowledge of food health knows this impression is not true, but children might believe it is. When the Olympics roll around every two years, whether it is the winter or summer games, adults and children from around the world tune-in to watch their “favorite athlete competing” (Connelly). Therefore, all these adults and children get numerous Olympic-themed endorsements thrown at them, some of which feature their favorite athlete. “In Atlanta, the golden arches figure” was “displayed almost as prominently as the Olympic rings” (Longman). Many large-scale companies use this technique of mass advertising as a way to brainwash consumers into remembering that brand’s name every time they need to buy something. Millions of Americans fell for the technique, and tuned in to watch their favorite athletes