Perhaps now more than ever, if they so happen to be lucky enough, a stellar athlete/entertainer enjoys a honeymoon period with their swelling fan base. It’s at that point where the athlete gets to decide whether or not he/she wants to be a role model. It’s also at that point where most agents or entourage members remind the entertainer that dumb is the new cool in America.
At Kwik Stop, we’re totally on board with what Sir Charles Barkley stated in that polarizing Nike commercial from out of the ’90’s. How could we blame athletes for simply talking the talk when 75% of the objecting American public happen to have spent hours of their own life painting their face or publicly wearing another grown man’s last name on their back? (From an annual revenue standpoint, it’s been rumored that the American jersey industry is outperforming the rice industry in South Korea and Vietnam combined!)
One would have to think that a remake of that infamous Barkley commercial is on the horizon, no doubt. The modern day athlete, take Johnny Manziel, looks at the script, shrugs his shoulders, then asks the director if he could improvise a little. The director, surprised that Manziel even knows what the word “improvise” means, pleasantly nods his head in agreement. The recent college dropout, Johnny Football, then takes a moment to rationalize his interpretation of the line, “I am not a role model.” He looks at the camera, then playfully tosses the pigskin up to himself once before chirping the worst four letter word of all time:
The line makes final cut. The commercial debuts during the season premiere of “The Bachelor.” And the legion of aforementioned face-painters will nod their head, imbibe a Bud Light, warm up the Dodge Ram (that their girlfriend needs an 8′ ladder to get into), and go on to spend a 1/4 of next week’s paycheck in order to get their favorite team’s logo inked-in color-on the jugular.
Because that’s the answer for everything these days…YOLO. (That’s what high school teachers tell us, anyway.)
YOLO…the American Dream hasn’t died, it’s just been marginalized to the “insta” standard. Stay tuned for the app.
As for Manziel, by allegedly selling autographed footballs this past summer, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner passed on being a positive influence in society, and instead became an enabler. Yeah, just what this country needed more of: famous boys selling “grown ups” more stuff. (Check out mommies at Jonas Brothers concerts and it will make you want to move to Syria.) Dave Homeowner is buying Johnny’s football low and selling as high as he can.
While I don’t condone the money grubbing nature the NCAA operates under, they do have a job to protect the athletes from themselves: the sports memorabilia industry as a whole harbors enough parasites to fill the streets of the Macy’s Day Parade for the next decade.
But the issue that has me baffled is, with no kids to feed or wife to support, doesn’t the 20-year-old Johnny Manziel have better things to do with his time? God forbid he spends more time working out, or studying Peyton Manning’s ability to read defenses,
or reading a book (maybe in another lifetime), or learning to operate a laundry machine, cook a meal for his gal, change a flat tire, or play Scrabble with Betsy down at the assisted living center. Or all of the above. You know, “What can I do to make myself or my community better?” type of stuff.
If this is getting too old fashioned for you, ask yourself, “Would I let Manziel babysit my kids?” What’s he got to do with me, you ask? We idolize him because he can outrun guys, most of whom just spent 5 of their 8 sleeping hours trying to get to the lap dance level of Grand Theft Auto 5.
And Tim Tebow no longer plays.
Maybe Barkley meant to say that nice guys finish last in sports.
The United States once became the best place to live because everyone made sacrifices-including the “A-list” athletes. Ted Williams helped defeat Hitler so Pete Rose could be the “All-Time Hit King.”
Times have changed, you say? For better or worse? The latest face of college football, Jameis Winston, articulates himself as about as well as Ron Burgundy would reading teleprompter copy written by Foghorn Leghorn.
Another undereducated, ignorant, young male without any kind of viable, professional skill is not what our decaying socioeconomic culture needs right now. If Manziel and Winston continue to behave as if the rules don’t apply, that may be just what we are going to get.
Sadly, that’s when they’ll need to sign you an autograph more than you want it now.