Which was worse?

Here’s one my wife and I kicked around last night. A bit of a social experiment if you will.

In the past two weeks there have been two seperate cases where superstar atheletes – both arguably the greatest of all time at their respective sports – got caught in a situation involving illegal drugs.

So here’s my question. From your perspective, which was worse? “Neither” and “both” are not options, you have to choose one.



16 thoughts on “Which was worse?

  1. In MHO, I feel bad for Phelps, it seems like he has had to shorten his childhood and be so completely focused on constantly training that he never had a chance to be a kid, or make a mistake ( save that DUI..)

    He’s taking a break from swimming right now, and if he wants to experiment with things that most people have, I say let him have his moment of whimsy.

    He’s playing with performance decreasing drugs, while A-Rod is trying to get a leg up with enhancing drugs. While they may both be illegal, they are not the same.

  2. They are really so different… A-Rods is performance enhancing while the only performance enhancing Phelps receives is too his appetite. 🙂

  3. I really could argue both sides of this… (and for the record, my vote is for A-Rod)

    What about the role model aspect? Steroids are not nearly as prevalent as marijuana in high schools across the country. And steroids are still kind of big and scary (needles!) whereas most people view marijuana quite a bit differently.

    I’m wondering if it’s a whole lot harder right now to be a swimming coach trying to convince his kids not to smoke pot, than it is a baseball coach trying to keep his players off the juice.

  4. Shane, I don’t see either coaching at a level where people care. I would imagine that they would both be coaching at a collegiate level. Where, imo they would be more likely to look past their “faults”.

    I am not a big believer in “celebrities” being role models, so I can’t offer an opinion there.

  5. True, but I think we’ve gone past the time when we can assume that being a role model means that people will stop doing what they want to do (if there ever was such a time). Being a role model once meant that the media helped you cover it up. We definitely don’t have that anymore.

    I bet if you pick out 5 role models and we had to guess if they tried pot or drank before they were 21 (or whatever age was legal in their day), broke the speed limit, shoplifted a candybar, cheated on an exam, or cut school we would have a lot fewer people to look up to…because they are people, just like us. People who just happen to be amazingly good at something we’re not.

    The difference lies in that Rodriguez used a drug which cheated in his profession. If we respect him for his profession then he has to lose some of that respect. While Phelps can lose my respect as a person (or make me see that he’s really still a kid) he can’t lose my respect as an athlete because what he did is personal, not professional.

    Being a role model is a personal creation (created by individuals who admire them), not a professional one.

  6. Kids are going to smoke pot if they want to smoke pot. I think their friends are a bigger impact on them than “celebrities”

    Also, if I kid wants to grow up and be a pro swimmer they aren’t going to think “hey Phelps smoked the weed and got 10 golds” it’s obviously not improving his game, whereas a kid wanting to grow up and play pro ball would be more inclined to use the ‘roids, since it helps his game, and his favorite players are basically getting away with it. Has it kept anyone from keeping their hall of fame status? Has it made them give their pay check back? Nope. Phelps is losing money for his choice, A- Rod- not so much.

  7. I look at one and say, “you’re an idiot. you should know better.”
    I look at the other and say, “you’re a cheater and now kids will make the connection between cheating/drugs to success/money.
    I think Phelps should certainly be punished for a current mistake whereas A-Rod will be punished by the public and possibly kept out of the Hall of Fame because of his law breaking in the past.

  8. I’m having a hard time following Katie’s first paragraph.

    Whether or not you and I embrace the idea of celebrities as role models is kind of irrelevant since there’s no denying the fact that kids in sports idolize athletes.

    So, if I’m a parent who is trying to navigate my kids away from smoking pot, I might view the Phelps instance as “worse” by that criteria.

    The likelihood that my Little Leaguer is going to be tempted to use steroids is about nill.

    But I can guarantee with near certainty that my JV swimmer is going to be passed a joint at some point in his life. Probably before age 13. And when the greatest swimmer in the world is ripping bong hits like a seven-time gold medalist, my best attempts at steering him in the right direction are probably going to take a hit. (No pun intended)

    That being said… again, I put my check in the A-Rod column.

  9. On the subject of role models…

    “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

    Bottom line. Like it or not, with great blessing comes great responsibility.

    You’ve been entrusted with ridiculous talent, ridiculous riches, and with that comes millions of impressionable minds.

    I’m not saying you’re not allowed to screw up. Just know that it does have an affect on others.

  10. I was going for the hiring angle, not the coaching/role model angle. I was thinking if either actually wanted a job after their athletic careers then it would likely be at a college or professional level where less “fuss” would be made by “outraged” parents, jmo.

    Does that make a little more sense than my previous rambling?

  11. I could sit here and pretend I care about either but if I was in baseball in the early 2000s I woulda used roids to become a millionare with 2 seconds of thought. I also as a 24 year old did plenty of drinking and stupid things at parties so I dont care about him smoking a bong either.

    The Media is the only ones that care and the parents who like to be outraged. Both of those groups can say whatever cause I have no respect nor care for either.

  12. Who created role models and why do we expect to admire in all circumstances someone who is just good at one thing?

    With the advance of mass communications came this need to transfer the personal mentor onto a national hero. It’s easier for one thing. We never really know the person so they never have to fail us.

    And for awhile media kept the dirty little secrets of the select national heroes. Then they realized it sells papers to tell the stories and tsk tsk with the rest of us.

    Why should someone accept the responsibility of perfect or near perfect behavior just because they’re talented in something?

    Should they? I would hope so. Can we expect that? No, that’s hardly fair. We barely do a decent job ourselves of being good role models to the people around us.

    Where are we when a kid ls looking for a role model? Why should he bother to look to someone he doesn’t even know? Because he sees that we’re not perfect and he can put all his dreams success, coolness, and awesomeness on someone who hasn’t failed him yet. He can paste his own personality over Michael Phelps and dream for a little while.

    I think it’s an important lesson for us as human beings, that people aren’t who we create them to be. They just are who they are.

  13. “I think it’s an important lesson for us as human beings, that people aren’t who we create them to be. They just are who they are.”

    well put

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