Saturday, January 9 – This week could almost be described a distraction to sports. After news flashed about the off the field matters of cricket’s Chris Gayle, football’s YaYa Toure and Luis Suarez, we now know that the off the field activities are scrutinized even more than ever. We also see where the IAAF and FIFA continue to make the news for boardroom issues rather than the next World Cup or Olympic Games.
With that said though and with the evidence and chronicling of all those events, are athletes role models or the right symbols? I leave that for you to answer.
This blog will serve though as a reminder to all aspiring, current and even retired athletes that whether you are running, jumping, bowling, batting, swimming or riding, you are under constant watch and here are some things you should remember…
- Your sport is your work, and when you are at work, you should conduct yourselves in an appropriate manner
- When you are at work, you must consider your work colleagues and how your work may impact on them
- You are what you text, tweet, post on Facebook, YouTube or any other social media space
- Even in off-season you are still the star and so your conduct should still be in keeping with good standards
- During this time sit with an expert who can guide you on how to communicate in the most effective and efficient way
- Your country must come first. It is really where you got your start
- Align yourselves with the right brands and maximise while you are still active
- Create a Foundation somewhere in the middle of your career, it will become a great way to give back
- Sign autographs once in a while
- Do not ingest any substances you cannot declare
Leigh Steinberg in a column in 2012 wrote – professional sports is only a gateway for the few. But when Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis said on a public service announcement that “Real Men Don’t Hit Women” he made a great contribution to young people’s perception of what is embodied in true masculinity. Disaffected teenagers may tune out authority figures–parents, teachers, and commercial messages. A superstar athlete can permeate that perceptual screen to deliver a message of inspiration and hope.
Whether or not you choose to become a role model, you become one.