At the end of the day the absolute truth is...Someone's always watching you which makes you a role model weather you like it or not. So you can either be a good role model or a bad role model. The choice is up to you. However, who and what you show will be your responsibility at some point and time sooner or later.
If an athlete can show that money does not control who he is or how he acts, and he remains a respectable genuine person, why shouldn't he be a role model? In my opinion, if you can hold firm on your moral standards, no matter who you are, you have every right to be a role model to someone else.
I believe the list of role models could easily include some athletes. Yes, we have athletes out there who set terrible examples, but we also have many who thrive on being a role model. We can't lump all people into the same group. There are many athletes who mentor, sponsor, donate, and help organizations.
Yes, the list of role models should include athletes, because they have accomplished things that are very hard. The list of role models includes people who have accomplished amazing things, and who have also stood up for noble causes. When a person is highly gifted at something, it is fair to consider them a role model.
Athletes need to train hard to reach their goals and can be utilized as excellent role models. The most important part of being a role model is showing children what work has been put into becoming the best in your field. Role models give children hope and a path to follow for future success.
There are a couple reasons why. Most athletes are selfish. Most just play for the attention or the money. Another reason is that athletes have a tendency to make bad choices. An example of that is steroids and alcohol abuse. There was a case where a player from the cowboy's American football team was caught drunk driving, got into an accident and killed his friend. Some athletes don't even want to be considered as role models. They don't want even more pressure on them-they have plenty.
It seems that too many children place athletes, actors, singers, and other celebrities on a pedestal, and want to emulate them. This is relatively new due to the entertainment industry being such a part of our lives. Ideally, children should look to their parents, teachers, and other mature adults as their role models, taking cues from them. It's sad that kids too often look up to people whose lives are impossible to mimic and whose personalities shouldn't be.