As if the Tiger Woods saga wasn’t enough, it’s possible Brett Favre is the latest mega athlete to reinforce a) athletes aren’t role models b) athletes are self-entitled and c) talent in sports does not equate to skills social or moral.
For those keeping score at home, there are rumors (and pictures) claiming Brett Favre sent photos of his genitalia via text message to Jenn Sterger while playing for the New York Jets two years ago. Favre has been unwilling to discuss or deny the allegations while the National Football League has opened an investigation. (Sterger was an employee of the Jets at the time, so even while she hasn’t pursued sexual harassment charges, the league sees Favre’s alleged conduct as a serious disciplinary issue.)
Did Favre do it? Sure. Probably. Have you met a professional athlete? I have. I lived with nearly 90 of them during an NFL training camp. One night, they would cavort with some honey they met at the club. The next day, they would welcome a pregnant wife for a camp visit. I don’t want to paint the stroke to broadly, but in many cases, football players and pro athletes in general are just big nerds who happen to be talented at a sport, and they can’t believe a woman — a beautiful woman — might reciprocate interest in them. Then, they get used to the attention. Then, they find themselves in Brett Favre’s uncomfortable position.
Let’s review the lessons in case Favre cops to sexting Sterger. I want to make sure we don’t lose sight of reality:
Athletes aren’t role models. Athletes do embody a number of respectable traits and virtues: Hard work, determination, willingness to sacrifice, dedication, etc. However, one can find these intangibles among any different crowd, like policemen, firemen, soldiers and even parents. It’s not right to hand pick a few aspects of a person and turn your shoulder to the colder realities. It’s similar to when people applaud Adolf Hitler’s leadership. Really? That’s your guy?
It’s hard to fit the role of role model, but that’s why they’re so important to youth. Role models need to be held to the highest standard. So, let’s mine elsewhere because athletes will always disappoint.
Athletes are self-entitled. This shouldn’t require elaboration. When the world has been given to them for possessing such a simple, irrelevant set of talents, believe they expect the rest of humanity to abide their will. They feel all the money, parties and women are fruits of their labor. They deserve to be treated differently because they’re better. Someday, we’ll find a gene linking pro athletes with those who suffer dementia.
Talent in sports does not equate to skills social or moral. In fact, success in sports requires an extreme cold-bloodedness and a survival-of-the-fittest mentality that makes athletes incredibly self-absorbed. Not all athletes, but this explains why some of the best athletes in the world find themselves in Favre’s (alleged) position. When it’s Compete! Compete! Compete! your whole life, it’s hard not to hold your interests above all others. The alpha dog rarely plays nice.