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The Moon Mom: Placing Athletes on a Pedestal

Patch Parenting Columnist Nia Stanley asks if athletes should really be held up as role models.

I follow some interesting people on Twitter. The other day, a few of us were talking via the social networking site about how the public treats famous people.

Athletes in particular were the topic of this conversation. This was right after James and the Miami Heat lost the NBA Finals and James said something along the lines of “Yes, I made a spectacle of moving to Miami and we lost, but I’m still living a better life than you.”

That’s not exactly what he said, but it might as well have been by the way people reacted. Some people think James is immature and overpaid and that his wealth makes him more egotistical. A few die-hard James fans said he was stating facts and that he is well deserving of the millions and accolades he earns.

But something else happened recently involving an athlete that caused me to question what is fair in compensation.

I don’t know all the rules and regulations of college (or any) football, but here’s what I do know. Earlier this month, quarterback Terrelle Pryor withdrew from Ohio State after he was being investigated for receiving improper benefits. These improper benefits allegedly included receiving thousands of dollars for autographed memorabilia, a charge Pryor’s attorney vehemently denied.

Now, not only has Pryor withdrawn from Ohio University, but attorney Drew Rosenhaus is representing him. Rosenhaus’ clientele includes professional athletes such as Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Plaxico Burress.

From the outside looking in, it seems like he’s getting a better deal with the potential millions he could be earning in the NFL than playing for free in college. You can argue that he was getting a free education, but that pales in comparison to NFL money.

Student athletes such as Pryor generate millions of dollars for their schools in the form of ticket sales and sports memorabilia. These exceptional athletes put their physical health in danger every time they step on the field. What if Pryor would have stayed one more year at OU and sustained an injury that dashed his NFL dreams?

There have been other instances of college athletes getting in trouble for receiving improper benefits. James was one of them before he entered the NBA draft. On one hand, we treat these young athletes like royalty but get upset when they begin believing it. We can cheer for them, but they can’t act like they hear it?

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