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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sport’s MIssed Opportunities

You may have heard/read me say this before - but I am a big fan of Sports’ ability to deliver positive impact.  Not just the exhilaration of the win or the genius - but increasingly the cultural impact our sports stars have on the populace and their cultural mindset.
People in sport have an opportunity - nah a duty - to do the right thing.  They are influencing so many people around them with their actions - that as a collective (and often individually if you are really good) - we can shape the future.
In today’s celebrity driven society - there are many signs that the direction the world is being led is the wrong one - with respect, trust, care being attributes less highly sought after than greed, desire, self-gratification.

The news that Steve Williams has apologized seems to have ended his latest Tiger Woods episode - with players and administrators drawing ranks around the private event where a racial slur was laughed out.
Rather than putting to an end the episode though it highlights the seemingly inbred nature of the poor attitudes many seem to have.  Because the slur was ‘in private’ - it should not count.  “We did not mean it to be heard in public” - allows the comment to be brushed away.  It’s as though the squeaky clean image coveted by many in golf is the one for the public - to make sure we deliver the right message for the sponsors, to ensure we get our sponsorship income.
But behind closed doors - “you must” allows us to show the real us - “it’s OK to joke around using antiquated terms” as we are all in this together and we all know it is a laugh.
It’s a trend that is seemingly being used over and over.  Sports stars know that when they are in the public eye - they need to behave, they need to present themselves ‘right’.  But they miss the point - if you are a decent person, then you don’t need a public and private switch.  If you know how to act right - then act right - don’t keep your real feelings hidden away until a private party when you are unleash all the misguided humor/hatred/barbs.
The fashion seems to be growing that we have poor role models learning how to present themselves in the right way to maximize their returns - in the misguided belief that the paying public won’t notice who they really are.
What the world needs is real role models - people who are themselves first and foremost - and who act in an honorable and worthy fashion - all the time, not only when people are watching.  This does not mean I don’t want everyone whiter than white - I want people to make mistakes (but deal with them in the right fashion).
What I want is for sport to take up the mantle to be a positive impact and to run with it.  Let’s score a goal for humanity!!!

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