The Evolution of Athletes
Since the Greeks formed the Olympics to play for the gods of Olympus, and likely before then, humans looked up to those who were more than just physically active, but to those who were physically adept. We put these athletes on pedestals, literally and figuratively, and looked up to them as role models. This generation's parents grew up collecting trading cards of athletes, posters of athletes to proudly display on their walls. They collected bobble heads, signed pictures, newspaper clippings, and other knick knacks and memorabilia to show off and to remember their favorite athletes by. They were treated with a status resembling a nationwide role model. Now, with access to the internet, kids memorize facts about athletes more than collecting memorabilia. When you bring up and athlete, it's more of a game of 'Did You Know' than saying that they like them and talking about a couple of games they were in that they made cool plays. More and more, it seems like many are moving on from athletes. They are less spellbound by their actions on the court than their actions off. People are taking athletes off of their pedestals, and it's because athletes do the same stupid things, but now they get caught for it, and since the media calls them out on it, parents don't want their kids to look up to those athletes like they did as kids.
Athletes had their hands in the cookie jar, and now with invasive media to magnify every action the athletes make. According to Bagat (2010), “If these athletes want to continue to be rewarded with the fame and fortune that is unfairly bestowed upon them, they must prove to the world that they are going to be positive role models for future athletes, and those who admire them.” But in his mind, they are not. Athletes don’t do well under the extreme limelight. In Harris and Lewin’s (2006) article, they admitted that athletes didn’t fare well under pressure even when they were kids, but now “‘There’s more media out there writing online, 24-hour news,’ he said. ‘As a culture, we're less likely to give those guys a free pass.’” So parents aren’t the enchanted kids they once were, collecting the trading cards and hanging up the posters. Now they’re thinking about whether or not they want their kids to look up to theses athletes, and they don’t like what they see.
Parents, who now see what athletes are like due to the coverage that they’re getting, don’t like what the athletes are doing. That’s why we’ve started calling them out on it. Who wants their kid to look up to an athlete when in all actuality, according to Benedict and Crosset (2012), “A 3 year study shows that while male student-athletes comprise 3.3% of the population, they represent 19% of sexual assault perpetrators and 35% of domestic violence perpetrators.” No one should want their son to look up to these men and say that the sport that they play excuses that kind of horrible, misogynistic behavior. No one wants their daughter to think that if a sports player does this, then it’s normal and healthy in a relationship. And like relationships, athletes can distort what is normal and healthy in sports, too. Many baseball players use steroids, and since so many get away with it, kids are less inclined to feel bad about using them. In a 2013 article, Global Sports Development said “If Major League Baseball can start cracking down on their players’ steroid use, maybe younger athletes can see it’s not worth it in the long run.” This means that athletes in general