Editorial: Don't feel too sorry for errant sport stars

By Kelly Makiha

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During the past six days we have seen two well-known sports stars disgrace themselves.

After years of denial and being stripped of seven Tour de France titles, Lance Armstrong finally came clean on the Oprah Winfrey network last week about taking performance enhancing drugs.

In just the past few days, news has been unfolding about All Black Zac Guildford being involved in a "very, very serious" late night incident at a Christchurch house party. It has led to him standing down from the Crusaders.

Guildford is to face misconduct proceedings by the New Zealand Rugby Union. Although we are yet to learn what Guildford has done, it is clear his actions are likely to bring shame on his name.

Both sports stars' indiscretion are very different but ultimately have the same impact - they are a bad look for people who should be role models.

Armstrong has been an outright liar. His actions have been calculated purely for personal gain.

Guildford's actions, in the past, have been alcohol induced and he has tried to seek help for his problem. Time will tell if this latest incident is also alcohol-related.

Despite the differences in their falls from grace, let's not feel too sorry for them.

Years ago, Charles Barkley - a somewhat opinionated NBA basketball player - was criticised by fans and the media when he made the statement: "I am not a role model. Parents should be role models."

Some sports stars claim they never asked to be role models. Well, that's just tough. Their high profile, highly paid positions make them role models, whether they like it or not. Off-field antics rub off on impressionable youngsters who idolise their sports stars and makes our job as parents harder. Thank goodness there are plenty more well behaved sports stars for us to idolise.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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