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I’ll take A.C. Green or Myron Rolle

March 1, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

Some 17 years ago Charles Barkley made a commercial where he said he was not a role model.

"I am not role model. I'm not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I can dunk a basketball, doesn't mean I should raise your kids."

The unspoken word there is that parents should be "good" role models.

We know that doesn't always happen.

There is a lot of the "Do as I say, not as I do" mentality.

The problem is that professional athletes are role models, whether Barkley was right or not.

He did not grow up to be a role model. He grew up to be a professional basketball player. But, being a role model comes with being a professional athlete.

Whether that it right or wrong, it is the truth.

Tiger Woods recently buried his image like a plugged lie in a bunker with his mess.

He then put on the farce of a statement which didn't need to be done. He didn't need to apologize to me. He didn't cheat the game. I don't care.

He needed to apologize to the kids in his learning centers, but needed to do so in person, not in a 13 minute speech.

I'm just curious why it took Gatorade so long to drop him.

The only two companies still in his corner are Nike and Nike.

You want your sons to emulate Michael Phelps, Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Jordan, Mark McGwire?

That answer is a simple no.

You want your sons to emulate the work ethic of Kobe, Phelps and Jordan?

Absolutely.

I want to be the role model for my son. I want him to know it is more important to hit the books than hit a jumper.

But, if were given two choices on a role model for my sons they would be A.C. Green and Myron Rolle.

"The thing about him is that he is a great competitor," Green said. "He has a history of coming back from behind, and I think that will serve him well."

Green won three championship rings with the Los Angeles Laker. He played in 1,192 straight games, only missing three games in his career and stayed a virgin until he married in 2002, at the age of 39.

The story is his Lakers teammates thought his vow of chastity was a farce. They quickly realized, because of his walk, he was not kidding and was living a life of abstinence.

"But as time went on, when the guys saw some consistency to the way I was handling my life, they gradually came to accept it, to the point where some asked me to talk to sons and daughters," said Green, who runs a youth foundation.

"It doesn't really have anything to do with a person's religious background. It's about self-control - identifying your core values as a person."

Green uses the concept of halftime to talk to kids about mistakes.

"At halftime, sports teams gather and figure out what they're doing wrong," he said. "Well, we tell the kids that they can have a halftime too. They can stop, change their patterns of behavior and make their lives better."

Rolle graduated from Florida State in 2 years with a 3.75 grade point average. He earned a degree in Exercise Science and also completed all the pre-med requirements. He wants to be a neurosurgeon.

He also earned one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships and spent last year studying at Oxford University, where he earned a degree in medical anthropology.

At some point in time his name will be called in the 2010 NFL draft as a safety.

In the last month he has been peppered with questions about his dedication to the NFL. In fact, a member of the Tampa Bay coaching staff asked Rolle how it felt to abandon his Seminoles teammates while he studied at Oxford.

That's nothing more than a sign of stupidity right there.

"I hadn't heard that one before," said Rolle. "My initial reaction was a bit of confusion. It never was anger, but I was more bothered by the question because if anyone knew my involvement with my teammates, how much they care about me and how much I care about them."

"I hear all the negative things that he has too many things going on in his life," said Rolle's trainer, Tom Shaw. "But if (the NFL) is saying that Myron Rolle is a bad example, that's a joke. Myron is what you want all these kids to be. Every one of these kids should want to be Myron Rolle.

"The reason I say he's going to be a 10-year veteran is he's a guy who is going to out-work everybody. He's not just going to rest on his athletic ability."

"For me, I've never been someone with a singular talent," said Rolle. "I have other abilities and interests and I think I would be doing a disservice to me, my team, my family, everyone who has invested stock in me if I was just so isolated in one thing.

"The thing I always try to present to people in the NFL as far as my commitment is that my academics and my concerns at Oxford or as an outside philanthropist can help my football abilities. It can help me be someone more disciplined on the field, help me be someone more balanced and knowledgeable.

"It can help the other guys if they want to get involved in the foundation or the community rather than going out and partying or getting in trouble somehow."

There are a lot of things to learn about the Olympics, which wrapped up Sunday night.

"For me that was never my goal, five gold medals was never my goal," Vonn said.

"Of course I wanted to try and looking back four medals were very realistic but nothing goes the way you want it to, nothing is perfect. All that I could have done and all that I did was to go into the Olympics as best prepared as I could.

"It's been interesting. It's been hard sometimes to hear some of the things that people say. Sometimes people say positive things, sometimes negative.

"For me it was important to stay focused on what I was here to do and not think about what people were writing about and saying.

"It's been an amazing Olympics though, it has given me a huge amount of experience going into the next one. I know a lot more about what to expect. I have never gone in with so much hype."

If that is the case, then women's hockey needs to go away for some time because it will be Canada vs. U.S. for a long time to come.

She loses her mom to a heart attack and then goes out and wins a bronze medal in figure skating? That takes a special set of nerves to be that focused.

Kudos to her.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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