The Instigator
ESocialBookworm
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
whiteflame
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points

It is short sighted to promote sportsmen as the role models for the youth of a country.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
whiteflame
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,701 times Debate No: 44208
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

ESocialBookworm

Con

I firmly believe that it is useful to promote successful sportsmen as the youths' role models of a country. Sportsmen should be admired for their attributes, and use their power of influence over the youth, to sway them onto right paths in life. They show the younger generations to work hard, be healthy, all rounded, and that even slower people in life (when it comes to education) have a chance at being great.

R1- introduction
R2,3,4- 3 main points
R5- conclusion
Comments- any rebuttals
whiteflame

Pro

I am happy to accept this debate on whether sportsmen should be promoted as role models in the U.S. (or in any country, for that matter). As this round is to be used for introduction, I will focus on laying out my key points, and setting the stage for them to be expanded upon in the following rounds:

1a. The conundrum of the sports role model. The "models" who get the most screen time, and therefore the ones most often seen, are the ones engaging in bursts of anger, violence, and drug usage. It encourages dangerous acts.
1b. Sports stars embody their team scandals as well. Whether it's match-fixing, violating the rules, bribery or simply complete disrespect, these people should not be seen as reasonable role models. The most continuous successes are often among this group, and therefore the most likely to be a strong role model.

2. Sports stars often give youth a wrong impression. Even if we assume that they're entirely legitimate, they often become as good as they are following intensive training that requires high costs and putting their bodies through intensive physical harm that will likely end their lives earlier and reduce their overall quality of life. The image an athlete puts on for the cameras is not accurate.

3. These role models often provide a "way out" of academics for groups of people, providing what is perceived as the only route out of poverty for many. This is especially true for black youth, whose role models are chiefly sports stars. This pushes many that would otherwise be capable of pursuing more academic routes into the athletic one where they are far less likely to succeed. This leads to drop outs and reduced willingness to engage in something else that is difficult.

That's the outline. With that, I await Con's first main point.
Debate Round No. 1
ESocialBookworm

Con

Firstly, sportsmen highlight to the youth what you can achieve if you work hard. Why should we not want out children, the younger generation to look up at them? Though some sportsmen may not be academically superior, they still have a chance of being successful. They get to travel the world and represent their country. In an era, where patriotism lacks, with people often degrading not only fellow citizens but their own countries, it is these very sportsmen that provide a beacon of hope. When a country wins a competition, all those insults and arguments melt away as the majority of the population rise in celebration and victory, the 'bad talking' of their country blurred away.
In fact, sports are recommended as an extra-curricular. It not only helps the person with putting together a portfolio, but also with time management. In Korea, students at a young age attempt many sports until they find one that they do well in and or like. If not, their teachers find other means for them as an extra-curricular.
For example, Deepika Kumari, a young female archer, who was formerly ranked 1st in the world and currently, second, was able to find the balance between school, training and competitions. Why would we not want to encourage the youth to be like her?

Sources:
http://deepikakumari.com...
http://www.in.com...
whiteflame

Pro

Contrary to my opponent's views, it's not necessary to have a professional athletic role model in order for a child to pursue extra-curricular activities or to see what they can achieve when they work hard. In fact, pro-athletes should be the last people they look to for inspiration.

That's because the majority of screen time will be dominated by bad role models. No, I'm not talking about Deepika Kumari, a young woman who has made a name for herself and should be proud of her accomplishments. That will make one evening news segment and then be replaced by something a little more attention-grabbing.

Let's look to some examples.

Barry Hall is probably a name no one would know if not for a certain incident. He played for the Australian Olympic team in Sydney in 2008, one of their best players. But that's not what he's known for. He's known for his "incidences." In 1997, he struck Sam McFarlane in the jaw, breaking it in 3 places. It had to be wired back together, and Sam never played again.

A year later, another incident where he dropped his right knee into Steven Febey, coathangered another player, and nearly punched two fellow teammates. In 2005, he punched Matt McGuire in the stomach.

And then we come to Sydney. In 2008, at the Olympics, Barry Hall gained worldwide fame by striking Brent Staker, removing Staker. His outbursts weren't done, as he later broke his wrist on the metal railing behind a cardboard advertisement.

Later in 2008, he tried to strike Shane Wakelin.

And then, in North Melbourne, an altercation with Scott Thompson that included a headlock made news.

This is an example of violence in sports, which is really what gets televised the most. We don't remember Mike Tyson for being a great boxer, we remember him for biting Evander Holyfield's ear. And lest you think that this was just in the moment, he was convicted of rape in 2003, that made the news, especially when he said she was "asking for it." In fact, rape charges seem to be a very common newsworthy moment. Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger have made news for rape allegations that were beaten down by high powered lawyers. Steve Jackson of the St Louis Rams was accused of beating his nine month pregnant girlfriend. OJ Simpson has been brought to court twice for the deaths of his wife and an acquaintance. We don't remember much about his football days. The list of ways that on-field violence translates to off-field violence is stark, as studies have shown.[1]

And it gets worse. NASCAR races are known for their crashes, something that their fans wait for and cheer. Hockey is known for its brawls, again, something that their fans often go specifically to see. In most sports, it's the fights that get the most attention.[2] The fans themselves are far from innocent in this. Any list I could find was too short, but here are some news stories from Huffington Post.[3] I will, however, focus on a few:

A mass beating after an attempted stabbing of the Kansas City Royals coach.
Two people were shot in a confrontation between fans at an Oakland Raiders/49ers game.
Monica Seles, the number 1 women's tennis player, was stabbed in the neck by a fan. It took almost 2 years for her to return to the sport.
The "Malice in the Palace," a brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers that included fans, resulted in 9 suspensions.
A San Francisco Giants fan was placed in a coma following a beating by 2 Dodgers fans. He has massive brain damage.
The Vancouver Riots resulted in police cars being set on fire and businesses being broken into and looted following the loss of their team in the Stanley Cup.[4]

These are the people who look up to these players that are instigating this violence. These are the people who view these athletes as role models.

But it goes beyond violence, and into drugs.

The list of players who have taken performance enhancing drugs is incredibly long, and it's only dwarfed by the list of potential players who have as well. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Miguel Tejada, and Jose Canseco, just to name a few, are among baseball's hall of fame following the usage of anabolic steroids - illegitimate methods that allowed them circumvent hard work for an easy title.

And that's just baseball. The list for basketball, football, soccer, weightlifting, and hockey are also long and storied. The Olympics have been tarnished by their usage multiple times. And let's not forget cycling. How could we? After all, Lance Armstrong, a man who was seen as a vision of everything great that comes with hard work and perseverance, is still very present in all of our minds, but not for conquering cancer. No, it's his use of erythropoietin, his being stripped of his medals, and his very public denial even while he was being convicted that captured the focus of the cameras.

Let's not forget all of the foul play in sports. The Black Sox Scandal of 1919 and the 1933 Tripoli Grand Prix are the best known gambling scandals, but they've come very recently and in droves. The list is nearly endless, and it covers every sport you can think of.[5] Whether we're talking about Steven Lee deliberately missing shots in snooker, referee Tim Donaghy betting on games he officiated in in the NBA, Damien Oliver's betting on another horse he was up against, or Hansie Cronje's numerous match fixing convictions in cricket, the big picture is that it's pervasive and it makes the concept of fair play look dim.

But it's not just about the physical. Our perception of sports can be tainted in other ways.

John McEnroe was an artist with a tennis racquet. His volley game was second to none. He won 7 grand slam titles, and 10 more in doubles. However, this wasn't the focus of any news story where he was featured. Instead, what we were treated to was his myriad antics and histrionics.

That's what he's known for - cursing at judges, breaking rackets, and generally unsportsman-like conduct. Not exactly the example he should be setting. What's worse, it created a thirst for more. Fans started decrying Pete Sampras" lack of personality on the court. Apparently, a mastery of his sport and 14 grand slam titles weren"t enough. McEnroe fundamentally altered what was viewed as prized among athletes in tennis, perverting it to something that shouldn't be prized at all.

These are the people who make headlines, the ones we hear about constantly because we just can't stop watching. I've posted several videos of these supposedly great role models. These are the ones who get to speak to children the most, and therefore have the most influence. Why would anyone want that for their child?

1. http://www.humankinetics.com...
2. http://news.discovery.com...
3, http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
4. http://bleacherreport.com...
5. http://www.couriermail.com.au...
Debate Round No. 2
ESocialBookworm

Con

Moreover, sports is a beneficial hobby. Not only is it relaxing, but has been proven that when exercising, people activate a hormone which makes them happier.Also sportsmen and women encourage citizens to healthier and fit.
Contrary to the belief that sports promote sports over academics many actually do go to school and excel. For example, Jehue Gordon graduated from Queen's Royal College, a prestigious school in Trinidad.
Some people also believe that sportsmen promote unethical practices, such as steroids. However, before and even during the competitions, representatives are tested by the World Association Against Drug Abuse Organization.
whiteflame

Pro

Just a brief point before I get started. There are plenty organizations that test for use and abuse of steroids, yet athletes are always upping the ante. Designer steroids are allowing many to bypass such screens (as seen by the fact that many athletes have had their medals stripped after being tested multiple times), and some coaches are even pursuing gene doping, an untested and unsafe method, as a way to circumvent these organizations. And even if they're caught, these are the people that get the most attention, not the athletes who played by the rules.

My opponent is conflating two things that are not the same: encouraging sports as a beneficial hobby, and encouraging people using pro athletes as a model. Since what he is doing with his case is the latter, that is where this debate should be focused. Yes, we can all agree that someone becoming physically fit is better off on the whole. But what about someone who is competing on the level of a pro athlete?

I would say that I've already given a lot of what happens " steroid usage, violence, and bad sportsmanship. However, it goes deeper than just what we see on a day-to-day basis, what's broadcast on news stations the world over. It involves intense pain and physical trauma, and early death.

How about that intense pain and physical trauma? Let's talk about the training. High altitude training is a must for many athletes, but it causes major harms. Acclimatisation to high altitude leads to the production of too many red blood cells, making the blood thicker and reducing blood flow. This stresses out the heart, and deprives parts of the body of oxygen. High altitudes also lead to intense weight loss (both from loss of appetite and the body eating itself), risks of weakening the body's immune system, and lengthened times of recovery from muscle damage. That's not to mention the expansive list of altitude illnesses that can result from pressure changes and oxygen deprivation.[1]

But that's probably the least of their concerns. The real problem starts at their overall level of training:

"One word that describes it best is BRUTAL. You have to be insane and neurologically damaged in your head to undergo some of the training regimes top level athletes put themselves through, day after day, week after week for an entire year. It"s not normal but it"s the price you pay to be the best.

A typical pro athlete would train around 5-6 hours a day 6 days a week. This might not seem like a lot of hours but the intensity of training is ridiculous. In fact, without sounding pompous, an average fit individual would struggle to make it through one of our warm-ups.

Take a particular endurance session of a former world champion squash player (I do NOT recommend trying this at home). His training session would involve getting on a spinning bike with a heart rate monitor strapped around his chest. He"d then start pedalling hard until his heart rate hit 190 beats per minute which he"d maintain for a duration of 10 minutes. This would be followed by a 3-minute break and the cycle would be repeated 6 times!

If you wish to fathom what this feels like, the next time you go exercising, try taking your heart rate to a level of 180 beats a minute and maintaining it for 20 seconds. Make sure you have a trustworthy friend by your side." [2]

BRUTAL. What does this intense training result in? Let's look at endurance sports. Studies have shown that "When the data of extreme endurance athletes was isolated, it was found that the health effects of regular physical activity became less pronounced, and were instead replaced by significant heart damage."[3] Here are some examples of how this affects athletes.

"For example, distance-running legend Micah True " better known for his role as Caballo Blanco in the book "Born To Run" " died while on a trail run from cardiomyopathy due to an enlarged heart. True was just one example of seasoned endurance athletes who have experienced sudden cardiac events during exercise. Marathoner Ryan Shay and Ironman triathlete Steve Larsen are others, and most recently professional Ironman triathlete Torbjorn Sindalle was forced into unexpected retirement due to premature wearing of his bicuspid valve."[3]

That link has more than a half dozen other examples of this happening. And this is just with the endurance athletes. Don't think that other athletes are exempt from these physical harms. The vast majority of pro athletes die young. The mean death rate for professional athletes is worse than the general population.[4]

Athletes in their mid-30's experience sudden death as a result of clogged arteries that result from a lifestyle that includes poor diet, excess stress and overtraining, all of which are common among athletes. Overtraining specifically is a big problem. It can lead to imbalances in the brain, nervous and hormonal systems, upper respiratory illness, compromised immune function, and increase chronic inflammation. It contributes to heart disease and increased risk of death. What's worse, many of these abnormalities can lead to short term improvements in athletic performance, which makes them continue pushing themselves, mistakenly thinking that their training has been successful. Worse still, athletes and society as a whole often accept this ill heath as an inextricable part of athletics. This unhealthy "no pain no gain" approach leads them so far as to assign names that are often glorified to the harms of overtraining: "athlete's heart," "runner's knee," "swimmer's shoulder," and "runner's anemia." This just perpetuates the health harms and spurns treatment and prevention efforts.[5]

But let's think about it for a second. Why should we logically believe that overtraining is bad? It has to be just correlative, doesn't it?

"Any athlete who overtrains must also overeat to maintain his or her bodyweight and strength, and that leads to the heart of the problem, which is the overproduction of free radicals in the body. The body produces many different kinds of free radicals, but every kind is a molecule that is missing an electron in its outer shell. That makes free radicals unstable and on the lookout for a way to fill the electron void. When they bump into a normal healthy cell, they steal one of its outer-shell electrons from the cell wall, thus damaging the cell and setting off a chain reaction, with each damaged cell molecule looking to replace its missing electron. What you get is a bunch of permanently damaged cell walls that can lead to such problems as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. You name it, and free-radical damage to the cells of the body has been linked to it."[4]

So not only are there problems associated with the overtraining of these pro athletes, but they're causally linked to these harms.

I will address the point about emphasis of sports vs. academics in R4. For now, I kick it back to Con.

1. http://www.altitude.org...
2. http://health.india.com...
3. http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com...
4. http://imbodybuilding.com...
5. www.philmaffetone.com/files/20158/Athletes-Fit-But-Unhealthy.pdf
Debate Round No. 3
ESocialBookworm

Con

ESocialBookworm forfeited this round.
whiteflame

Pro

Well, that's depressing. I gave my opponent as much time as possible to post her next set of arguments, though apparently her schedule is such that that is impossible. As such, I will not use this round for argumentation either. However, I reserve the right to include new arguments in the final round as a result.
Debate Round No. 4
ESocialBookworm

Con

ESocialBookworm forfeited this round.
whiteflame

Pro

So, now for the final round... great. Much as we agreed that there would only be a conclusion in this round, I did leave my last round devoid of new argumentation, so I feel that it's fine for me to take a liberty here. I'm disappointed that my opponent has disappeared (and I hope she's alright), but I've already written this post (actually, had it written about a week ago), so I'm going to post it. Rather than concluding, I'll just state that voters can look at our arguments and see which have more merit, support, and are better elucidated. Simple enough.

I'm going to use this round to discuss a more psychological issue with pro athletes acting as role models, specifically focusing on the trade-off between academics and sports.

Before anyone gets upset, I'm not saying that sports and academics cannot be done en tandem. They can. The problem here involves what kids see as their options in life moving forward, and therefore where they choose to spend the majority of their time rather than a balance.

"In 1988, Dr. Harry Edwards, Professor of""Sociology at UC- Berkley, boldly affirmed, "The single-minded pursuit of sports, fame, and fortune is approaching an institutionalized triple tragedy in Black society."" Edwards concluded that among the catastrophes, was, "the tragedy of cultural and institutional under development in Black society overall, partially as a consequence of the talent drain toward sports and away from other critically vital areas of occupational and career emphasis (medicine, law, economics, politics, education, the technical fields, etc)."[1]

This isn't just true in 1988. Educators are still asking why growing numbers of black parents are putting more emphasis on athletics than academics, though it seems that the biggest reason is because many people of this particular minority group in America believe that this is the only way to achieve a substantial living for kids who have poor academic skills. In effect, as Harvard adviser Dr. Alvin Pouissant was stated, "too many black students are putting all their eggs in one basket."[1]

The amount of kids who go on to play pro are abysmally small.

Baseball: 11.6% of college players, 0.6% of high school players
Football: 1.7% of college players, 0.08% of high school players
Men's ice hockey: 1.3% of college players, 0.1% of high school players
Men's basketball: 1.2% of college players, 0.03% of high school players
Men's soccer: 1.0% of college players, 0.04% of high school players
Women's basketball: 0.9% of college players, 0.03% of high school players [2]

In other words, not everyone's getting in. In fact, very few are ever going to rise to that level. And many of those that are on their way or actually do get in are permanently sidelined by career ending injuries. That won't prevent people from trying, but it does create a concern with regards to using professional athletes as our role models, since that becomes what we aim for. Sports writer Scott Bakalar states this well: "There are few people who have the talent of Michael Jordan. But there are high school seniors who feel they are capable of becoming superstars."[1] These kids are placing all of their aspirations on reaching a goal that is beyond the vast majority of them, and they pursue it so doggedly that they often shirk academics.

Alright, so what effects is this having? They're dramatic.

"Across four cohorts, 50.2% of black male student-athletes graduated within six years, compared to 66.9% of student/athletes overall, 72.8% of undergraduate students overall, and 55.5% of black undergraduate men overall.
96.1% of these NCAA Division I colleges and universities graduated black male student-athletes at rates lower than student-athletes overall.
97.4% of these institutions graduated black male student-athletes at rates lower than undergraduate students overall."[3]

Colleges often overemphasize athletics for these students, causing a lack of identification with their academic processes. This often leads to high drop out rates.[4]

High schools are actually easing GPA requirements for athletes.[5] This means more athletes at these schools will now be able to let their GPAs slide even further, neglecting coursework in favor of athletic performance.

All of this adds up to a situation where athletics is often preferred to academics. This is specifically because the majority of black role models in the U.S. are pro athletes. They are drawn towards the allure of earning millions in pro sports, and pursue it to the detriment of their academics.

Again, I'm not stating that a student-athlete is a bad thing to be " if anything, the drive that helps student athletes to succeed in both. But the reality is that that isn't what pro athletes model. The vast majority of pro athletes don't even have a college degree. Only 3% of baseball players and managers have a 4-year degree.[6] Many basketball players are drafted out of high school or partway through their college career. While many of these players return to school later in life, they hardly present good academic role models.[7]

1. http://searchwarp.com...
2. http://www.businessinsider.com...
3. http://hechingerreport.org...
4. http://pcmbb.files.wordpress.com...
5. http://espn.go.com...
6. http://www.tampabay.com...
7. http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
Well, as she still hasn't appeared online, I'll wait out the majority of the next 18 hours and post early tomorrow morning. Hopefully that will give her ample time.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
ESocialBookworm - I need some sort of confirmation from you that you will be able to post in the final round. If I don't get that, I will still wait out the three day period to give you as much time as possible, though I hope that if you do return, you will be willing to allow new arguments in the final round, as I won't be using this round due to your absence.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
I'll post early tomorrow, should give you plenty of time to work on yours over the weekend.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
That's fine, I'll wait to post mine so you can get some of the weekend to work on yours. I'll have it up in 2 days.
Posted by ESocialBookworm 3 years ago
ESocialBookworm
I don't have time to post during the week sorry. I had to type up something quick today to avoid running out of time.
Posted by 6Logan6 3 years ago
6Logan6
Pro nailed it.....too many examples of athletes acting out....
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
You just have the video link in your post. Just make sure the links are in the order you want.
Posted by ESocialBookworm 3 years ago
ESocialBookworm
How do you post videos?!!!
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
Nevermind, decided to just go with it.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
I'm going to have some trouble posting over the next couple of days, but I'm interested in having this debate. If you don't get someone for a little while, I'll accept sometime tomorrow.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
ESocialBookwormwhiteflameTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to pro because of FF. Pro's arguments were well cited and fact based so he gets sources. Con should have had good rebuttals prepared for pro's obvious tactic of arguing athletes do bad things.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 3 years ago
Krazzy_Player
ESocialBookwormwhiteflameTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Not much arguments presented by Con and loses conduct points for the forfeit in last two rounds. However Pro made better arguments which were backed by reliable sources. A clear win for Pro.