Wednesday, February 11, 2009


By : Mrs. Victoria H. Slotter, B.S.; Spokesperson, Americans United For Responsible Role Models and Good Living

America needs strong role models. Life is difficult and challenging. Dynamic American heroes give their fellow citizens hope and joy. Even in the darkest times, sports stars, actors and even political figures inspire us with seemingly superhuman exploits. Every morning, countless Americans escape their troubles by thumbing through sports sections, following their favorite players. Every week, countless Americans follow popular television actors and Hollywood personalities. They look up to them as heroes. Celebrities give every American a precious gift: The power to believe in something better than his own miserable lot.

In times past, sports stars occupied a hallowed place in the American mind. Baseball greats such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Tom Seaver brought joy to millions. They stood apart from the world. They seemed to have superhuman abilities and unimpeachable personalities. They provided a good example for children, and they set a decent standard for the rest of us. They led good, decent lives; they inspired us. They recognized their fame and respected it. They did not engage in behavior that would have tarnished their image for the rest of us. In short, they recognized that their fame brought responsibility. And they responsibly honored their obligations.

But where are the heroes today? Where are the selfless sports stars? Today, sports stars make news for all the wrong reasons. We hear about Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez abusing steroids. We hear about Lance Armstrong “doping” to win the Tour de France. And we see photographs showing Olympic great Michael Phelps smoking marijuana from a “bong.” These stars are not just hurting themselves; they are obliterating the hopes and dreams of millions.

Americans need responsible heroes, not cheaters, wife-beaters and stoners. We, Americans United for Responsible Role Models and Good Living, believe that sports stars have a responsibility to be responsible. With fame comes responsibility, and sports stars must recognize that they no longer may live merely for themselves. They must consider the effects their actions will have on the public. At a time when Americans are losing their jobs and homes, belief in superhuman sports achievements is more important than ever. Sports stars have a duty to sustain the fantasies of everyday Americans, and we are determined to protect those fantasies.

In the past, great sports stars did not just excel on the playing field. They were decent people, too. Decent people lead moral lives. One cannot live a moral life if one engages in any form of immorality whatsoever. We propose forbidding sports stars from engaging in immorality. This will enable them to be decent people. For example, it is immoral to smoke marijuana from a “bong.” It sends the wrong message to our children, no matter how successful Michael Phelps may be. It is no defense to say that successful people should get away with things that would land others in hot water. Rather, sports stars must set a higher example. Fame impacts privacy, and we intend to closely monitor sports fans for immorality.

We demand that sports stars remain inspirational. To accomplish that goal, we must ensure that sports stars are decent people. We can do this by compelling major stars—both in sports and entertainment—to sign sworn commitments pledging never to engage in immoral behavior. For example, to be decent, Michael Phelps cannot merely apologize for smoking marijuana from a “bong” or driving drunk while underage. He must swear—under legal penalties—that he does not—and will never: Engage in premarital sexual intercourse; engage in any sexual conduct other than heterosexual vaginal intercourse intended to result in procreation; place his lips on any sexual organ; allow lips to touch his own sexual organs (except pursuant to medical emergency); masturbate more than four times per calendar year (pursuant to notice and approval by Americans United for Responsible Role Models, with no masturbatory episode to last longer than 15 minutes); drink beer; drink malt liquor; drink wine coolers; smoke cigarettes; smoke pipes; smoke handrolled cigars; lie; cheat; steal; commit fraud; use profanity beyond the words “Darn,” “Shucks,” or “Shoot;” use marijuana or other illegal drugs as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations or any statute applicable hereto; take the name of the Lord our God in vain; commit fornication or adultery; act inappropriately in any way; make scatological jokes or comments; take excessive enjoyment in life; or speak ill of any obligation or responsibility. If a sports star cannot abide by these restrictions, he is not a decent person, and he does not deserve adulation from Americans.

We have heard enough bad things about our heroes. By implementing our guidelines for decent behavior, we will restore faith in American sports stars. We will no longer hear about drunken binges, cheating, tax evasion, domestic abuse or wild romps. Instead, we will only hear about noble self-sacrifice, good sportsmanship, charity, visits to underprivileged schools, donations to the Children’s Cancer Fund and quiet nights at home with Mom and Dad. Sports stars have a responsibility to be responsible; and we intend to hold them to it.

Sports stars may say that they are only human. They may be unwilling to abide by our guidelines for decent living. They may say that they have a right to live in private and to engage in private activities. We say: “No, you don’t.” When a person becomes a sports star, he becomes a public hero. Just as the Gladiators of Ancient Rome provided excitement and inspiration to the common man, so too must modern American sports stars recognize their inspirational place in the social order. They do not have the same freedoms as everyday Americans. Rather, they owe public duties. If our sports stars do not lead decent lives, who will? We must at least aspire to decency by requiring our most inspirational citizens to lead decent lives. Additionally, we believe that sports stars will not face heavy burdens. After all, sports stars in decades past not only excelled on the field; they were also decent people. Why can’t modern sports stars do the same? Babe Ruth inspired children without engaging in nonprocreative sexual intercourse or “bong-smoking.” Has so much changed in eighty years that modern sports stars cannot be decent people?

We do not think so. We believe that sports stars can be both great athletes and decent people. It is time to return morality and goodness to sports. After all, Americans take refuge from their lives in sports. It is only fitting that their refuge should be a moral place. For too long, sports stars have disappointed the average Americans who believe in them. We must repair the damage. Now, we insist that sports stars not only excel on the field, but also lead moral lives. How else will our children learn decency? Parents can only teach so much; sports heroes carry much more weight. We must remember the children. Let sports stars remember that before they take a steroid injection. Let Barry Bonds say to himself: “If I take this injection, I may hit more home runs. But I will irreparably harm millions of children in the process.” Let Michael Phelps say to himself: “I am having a great time at this party and I really want to take a bong hit. But if I do, I will devastate millions of children all over the world.”

What would a responsible man do in these circumstances? He would choose the responsible path. Americans hear enough bad news. Let our sports stars enlighten our lives, not depress them. To do that, we must force them to be moral. This is about America. And it is about the children.

No comments: