Editorial: Which sports stars are our role models?

By Doug Laing

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Black Cap Kane Williamson is a great role model for young Kiwi kids. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Black Cap Kane Williamson is a great role model for young Kiwi kids. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Behind the furore over claimed illicit online viewing of the Parker-Takam boxing match is a bit of a sleeping giant in our social fabric.

There's something ironic about what people do to watch a fight, be it paying $49.95 or risking approbation for viewing stolen property in the privacy of their own home.

What happened to violence and society's disdain for its perpetrators?

Alongside this is that in the pay-to-view world there's not a lot of live TV sport that is not pay-for-viewing. The most freely accessible tends to also be the more violent. If not, it's racing - motor or horse.

Somewhere this society's moral compass has gone walkabout, for as big-time sports hungers for more money, its rock stars become more distant from our young, more left behind in the quest of role models we ascribe.

In real time - that 'til they should be tucked up in beddie-byes - the more vulnerable kids, being those in families that can't afford the meanest of one-time luxuries, or worse are not in families at all, have little access to the live-TV performances of such heroes as the All Blacks, the Black Caps, etc. Um, park the Warriors aside awhile.

"A kid in sports stays out of court," is the adage adhered to by Youth Court principal Judge Andrew Becroft, who in July succeeds Hawke's Bay paediatrician Russell Wills as Children's Commissioner.

But what of the future if those kids are more inclined toward bashing or kicking others, wherever they think supremacy may be best attained, than latching onto the more gentlemanly attributes of a Richie McCaw or Kane Williamson?

With some urgency, this country needs to take a serious look at just which role models it wants to help guide our children on their way.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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