Are Athletes a Bad Influence on American Youth?

Essay by andremballCollege, UndergraduateA-, February 2008

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Throughout the United States, it is obvious how our society exposes sports to children. In most countries other than the U.S., extracurricular sports are not part of the school system. Naturally, with the kind of emphasis on sports we impose on our children, they are going to tend to idolize major sports figures. But are those sports icons a positive role model who deserve special recognition, are they just ordinary people who have worked hard to reach their status, or are they people who have a God-given talent that they take for granted? It seems that there are plenty of examples that would fall under that last category. Some that come to mind include NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, NFL hero O. J. Simpson, and the Atlanta Falcons’ star quarterback, Michael Vick.

The arrest of Kobe Bryant is one that certainly comes to mind. The indictment claimed that Bryant raped an employee of a hotel in Edwards, Colorado, while he was staying there for knee surgery (Corliss).

Bryant’s defense was that the victim was lying. Bryant, a married man with children, claimed that he and the victim had consensual sex (McCallum). Eventually, the victim dropped that charges. No-one may never know what happened in the hotel room that night, but it is known that Bryant admitted to have sex with this woman, thus cheating on his wife.

Another example can be seen in the highly publicized case of O. J. Simpson. In June 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, were found dead. Simpson was subsequently arrested for their murders. After a nine month long trial, Simpson was found not guilty. This shocked most people, as it was universally believed that he was, in fact, the murderer. Considering the fact that Simpson was and still is one of...