There was a time when sports stars were respected; revered throughout our nation. The likes of Sir Bobby Charlton or JPR Williams gave out a professional, gentlemanly conduct that was seen and loved throughout the country. Now, however, there is little to suggest that our sporting personalities do anything to be respected. The conduct shown both on and off their respective fields of play has lead to constant bombardment from media outlets, and rightly so. So due to this negativity, there is the overwhelming question – what has happened to sports stars?
With the obscene amount of money they earn combined with the fact that they are in the public eye 99% of the time, you would think that athletes would show a better demeanour, especially knowing that people will jump on any story and turn it in to a negative assault.
The prime, and most current, example of this is the England rugby squad. Travelling over to New Zealand, they were briefed on how they should behave, a briefing that did not include non-misogynous dancing, chauvinistic behaviour or even ferry jumping. So what image does this give our youth, our rising rugby talent on how to behave? Of course they may see the negative headlines and understand that they need to act differently, however they likelihood is, is that they are seeing their idols act, for lack of a better word, unfavourably.
It is not just rugby that gets a bad rap. Every year Andy Murray gets berated for his lacklustre performance in Wimbledon. Dwayne Chambers’ drug use was given a two-page spread in one newspaper. And of course, the antics of footballers such as John Terry, Wayne Rooney or Joey Barton, to name a few, leave a lot to be desired.
A point that has been made before; but it seems that sports stars deem themselves above the law. Ever since George Best’s first demand of a pay rise, it has become apparent that athletes can attempt to go and do as they please, without facing too many of the consequences. And is that our fault? Have we, as a media-based nation, given these people, and they are just people, the right to abuse the stature they hold? Of course we furrow a brow when there is misconduct. We tut our way to work, complaining about the money people make for doing something we’ve seen done ten times better for ten times less, and we make our opinions heard to the unlucky soul closest to us. However, the next week, that animosity will have changed, as we applaud their conduct in doing something we desire.
Perhaps it is the case with any public figure. Politics has shown in the past that it can hold the same rollercoaster of opinions, based on decisions made. However, the difference being that with politics, business or even most other media front-runners, the consequences will be a lot more dire for them, if they were to do something half as bad as someone in the athetic world.
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