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MCCOLLOUGH: Twenty years later, Barkley’s words still ring true

Published 11:59pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Charles Barkley put the world on notice in 1993. But it wasn’t his tremendous basketball play, and knack for grabbing rebound after rebound. It was a simple statement about how he felt.

Barkley’s comment and subsequent Nike ad saw him using the line, “I am not a role model. Parents should be role models.”

While “The Round Mound of Rebound” might have been a little brash with those comments, he speaks the complete truth.

When I was a young kid, around the age of eight, I was enthralled by the story of Joe Paterno. Being a young football fan in SEC territory, I was used to seeing coaches hired and fired regularly. Hearing of JoePa’s tale of being in charge at Happy Valley for, what seemed like to me at the time, an eternity was different.

Nowadays we know that Paterno may not have been the figure I knew back then.

There have been other that have fallen from grace like Michael Jordan, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Vick and now Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong’s story has come to light recently, and it isn’t good for sports fans.

Armstrong recently dropped his fight to clear his name in the eyes of the World Anti-Doping Agency. While that doesn’t mean Armstrong is guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, it doesn’t put him in a good light.

But even if Lance juiced up, JoePa covered up a child abuse scandal, Vick tortured animals or Jordan gambled away millions, we have to remember they are common people. Under the colorful uniform, behind the locker room doors, they are same as you and I.

They wake up every morning and go to work. It just happens that their job is viewed by millions of fans worldwide. But Barkley didn’t just say he shouldn’t be a role model, but also mentioned that the parents should have more of a role in the child’s life.

I have participated in, umpired or covered many recreation league athletic events in my life, and have seen and heard lots of unhappy parents. The parents will tell the umpires off and jump on children for making common mistakes.

Barkley wanted the parents to be role models, but yet some parents have more ill effect on the child than the pros. Let me ask a simple question, what is more powerful to a kid: getting yelled out by mom for taking a third strike or Armstrong getting a when taken away for possibly taking ‘roids?

While I don’t want parents to think that I’m saying steroids aren’t a bad thing, I just want folks to look at the bigger picture.

Remember the kids don’t live in the same house as Vick or Armstrong.

 

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