After the NBA during the same era as

After watching the YouTube clip with Charles Barkley, I am
shocked that Nike produced this commercial. This commercial has caused many debates
to start on the topic of whether professional athletes have a social
responsibility of being good role or not.  Although I understand where Barkley is coming
from and agree that he is not responsible for raising other people’s kids, I do
not think that this eliminates him from the social responsibility of being a
role model. I believe Karl Malone, who played in the NBA during the same era as
Barkley, made a very strong point when he responded to Barkley’s video and said
“Charles… I don’t think it’s your decision to make. We don’t choose to be role
models, we are chosen. Our only choice is whether to be a good role model or a
bad one” (Staff, 2010). Being a positive role model for kids and professional
athletic performance go hand in hand and are inseparable. This is caused by tv,
movies, and social media glorifying these athletes and raising them to god-like
status, which in turn, leads to millions of kids worshiping and idolizing these
athletes. I believe that having kids look up to you and aspire to be like you
is an honor and something you should be proud of. Although Barkley may not want
this honor, his high status requires him to at least be aware that he is being
watched and has the power to influence millions. Deciding on what type of role
model he wants to be is his choice. Often times, a child’s main role model is their
parents. Unfortunately, there is a large majority of kids who do not have a
parent they can look up to as a role model. In result, kids turn to professional
athletes to fill this position. Dr. Burton, who is a psychiatrist who
specializes in treating athletes said, “Kids need to have someone they can
idealize in order to aspire to become better themselves. Without that, there’s
not much hope for them” (Staff, 2010). Kids use the story and influence of
these professional athletes to help push and motivate themselves to achieve
their goals and dreams. I remember growing up and going to the gym and every
kid in there would shout some professional basketball players name every time
they made a move or shot a shot. Although the professional athletes are role
models and kids aspire to be like them, I do not think that the kids adopt the
negative behavior of these athletes. For example, I do not think a kid is going
to say “well Michael Jordan gambles so therefore I’m going to gamble.” At the
end of the day, whether they like it or not, professional athletes do have a
social responsibility of being a role model. Deciding what kind of role model
they want to be, is something they can control.