Do Athletes Show Us What is Right and Wrong?

Essay by Aj9876College, UndergraduateA-, March 2002

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Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, Charles Barkley, Rae Carruth, Dennis Rodman. All of them are famous athletes, but are they also role models? Can they be both? These sports figures show deviance at the pro level but it occurs in college and even all the way down to the high school level. From kids to adults, deviance occurs everywhere; but when it appears in sports it becomes an even bigger issue. Athletes are viewed by millions and millions of people everyday, whether it be in a game or on the news. What is normal in sports may be considered deviant outside of sports. Therefore, these athletes must control themselves much more than an ordinary citizen would. Everybody looks at them as athletes, but some look at these same athletes as role models also. Do sports figures do a good job of showing us what is right and what is wrong? This will be the basis of the following study.

Deviance is "the recognized violation of cultural norms" (Macionis, 134). According to The American Heritage Dictionary, sport is "an activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a defined set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively." It's no wonder there is so much deviance in sports. We have everyday rules and laws that we are supposed to conform to on the streets, yet we have different rules to follow on the playing field. In these games, deviant acts are seen all the time, but deviance on the playing field is viewed as part of the American way. However, this is not what society's main concern is. Society is more worried about the deviance that is being committed by sports figures off the field. This deviance gets large media coverage. Examples seen on the news or the internet everyday...