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Commentary: Skip the hero worship with Armstrong and Te'o

By Dave George, The Palm Beach Post Published: January 23, 2013

Won't work. The better players, the better coaches, will always have the biggest platforms. What they do with that is up to them, and what we do with it will never change for a variety of reasons.

For openers, there are so many skunky sports names on the police blotter every day that the good guys are given the responsibility for raising the bar whether they like it or not. Parents and youth coaches point to the ones with clean records and gleaming smiles and winning personalities as role models who may be trusted when all others are smeared.

When someone like that slips, it makes far more of a dent than all the other disappointments. Makes them more reviled, even, than those who have done worse.

Another certainty is the sad fact that many kids lack a parent who is willing and able to show them right from wrong. If there's a sports figure telling them, at the very least, to stay in school and work hard, that can be significant, and it's a message worth hearing. The alternative is sending each boy and girl home with a glossy poster of their principal, but my guess is those posters would wind up somewhere other than the wall at home.

When a sports champion turns out to be a chump, then, just tell the truth, to yourself and to the kids. No man or woman is without flaw, no matter the size of their trophy collection. No sports event is bigger than life. No athlete can succeed at the highest level without a ton of support from family and coaches and teammates, and disappointing them would be a terrible loss in a lifetime of winning.

Maybe that's not enough to close every fresh wound, but it should be enough to power past Lance and every sports scandal to come without descending entirely into a world without heroes. If you think this is bad, try that.

MCT Information Services

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