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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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.Alana Esposito


Mr. Campbell

November 9th, 2018

Soccer Players and Role Models What an Unfit Pairing

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, it brings people together like when people around the world get together to watch the world cup. Soccer started making its place in the world a very long time ago. It first started as a very unstructured game with a group kicking a ball around trying to get it to a “net”. Then soccer evolved into this beautiful simplistic structured game that many enjoy playing and watching. Soccer athletes like other athletes are known for their incredible skill, their amount of goals and their rank in the sport. This does not oversee that soccer players are not fit to be presented as role models. Even though their skills can help others with their own skills. Unfortunately, soccer players unethical bad habits can cause negative impacts on their audience by players faking injuries, the unhealthy sponsorships that teams endorse and violence that they participate in on the field.

Soccer players like Lionel Messi, Neymar, Christian Ronaldo, David Beckham, and the list goes on, are quite the stars in the sporting world. They are stars for their amazing skill and effortless goals. But, this is not all that these famous athletes are known for. Professional soccer players are known for their notorious injury faking. Many who look up to these athletes see this as an ideal of the sport. Due to this one thinks that this is ok, and if not done properly it can cause serious injury. This is a problem and is not the first time “Kids Interrupt Soccer Training to Practice ‘The Neymar'” (Digg, “Kids Interrupt Soccer Training To Practice 'The Neymar'”).  The video shows children who are at soccer practice, the coach yells “Neymar”, then the young children go diving to the floor as if they were “hit” in the game. But they did not just fall, they dove to the floor and started screaming and rolling around like they were hurt and as like the professionals do so when they are hit. By the athletes do this exact thing in the professional games on the field it makes others think that it is ok to do this on the field. Also, with the coach endorsing these behaviours it is teaching the kids who are new to this sport that it is fine to fake it to get ahead. With non-experienced kids trying to do this it can cause them to get seriously hurt. If they misplace their foot or fall in the wrong direction they could get seriously hurt, and that could cause their soccer pathway to end just from copying what the professionals do. By others looking up to these athletes as role models, it can cause people who look up to these athletes to think it is ok to deceive and cheat and fake in a game. Not only is it deeming faking on the field ok but with these athletes being looked up to as role models them playing the sport by faking is teaching bad habits to their viewers.  When one can see a player not being discrete about faking an injury “a player with the ball get tackled and dispossessed, fall to the pitch and roll around in agony while peeking to see if play has stopped” (Burdick, “Cheating the Beautiful Game”). Anyone can clearly see that this athlete was using the situation to pretend that he was hurt in order to get an advantage in the play. The athlete did not even try to hide the fact that he was faking, so to someone who looks up to this athlete, it is deemed ok because anyone who looks up to someone as a role model will try to model them and live up to them. This exemplifies that these soccer athletes are not fit to be posing as role models.  The Greeks and the Romans used to say, “cheat in game, cheat in life”. This is the rule of thumb for any sport and life. Many soccer players exaggerate their injuries, but when these athletes are cheating by doing this is unethical. “exposed the foul for what it actually was: a spectacular bit of theatre. Lovren had barely touched Fred…his arms raised in mock protest even before he hit the ground. He'd faked it, to draw the penalty.” (Burdick, “Cheating the Beautiful Game”). This soccer player provides much of the needed evidence for one to say that Fred was exaggerating his injury just, so he could get a penalty to gain an advantage for his team. That is teaching the kids who look up to them that it is ethically ok to cheat in the game to get ahead. But if kids think it is ok in the game they might implement that into their lives. The people who look up to these athletes as role models are very influential, so they are easily influenced by these athletes' actions. In return can cause some issues because of the athletes' unethical decisions on the field, this makes soccer players not a good fit to be represented as role models.

Many sports teams endorse brands like Adidas, Nike, Under Armour, Audi and much more. But it is not only sports companies or car companies that sponsor these soccer teams, alcohol companies, and fast food chains sponsor these teams as well. One may say that it is wrong for these types of unhealthy sponsorships to be sponsored by soccer players. By this controversy, this just proved that maybe soccer players are not the best fit for posing as role models for people to look up to. David Beckham is a sports pioneer for soccer he has made a lasting impact on the sport. So, a sponsorship that Beckham endorses is a big deal “David Beckham signed on to pitch a low-calorie smoothie. The iconic soccer player's role was to use his dreamy looks to seducing people to buy a ‘handcrafted' sugary drink” (Feloni, “7 Junk Food Brands with Awkwardly Unconvincing Athlete Endorsements”).  By Beckham endorsing this unhealthy sugary drink, it is perceived by others who look up to these athletes as deem it as something that one should be doing to be like Beckham. When in reality this sugary drink is not what one wants to be like Beckham. These unhealthy sponsorships continuously deceive audiences and make one believe that they are healthy, and it is what it takes to be like the athlete one admires. Some soccer athletes and soccer teams endorse alcohol companies as sponsorships. This causes an issue due to the fact that athletes and alcohol are not a good pairing “Budweiser, the King of Beers, is the long-standing Official Beer of the FIFA World Cup” (“Football shirts n beer sponsorship”). With athletes being sponsored and endorsing alcohol brands it goes against their “clean living” attitude. Sponsorships are always directed at a target audience and sports are directed at a target audience as well. The alcohol sponsorships are often associated with playing the game so, young people are more influential when it comes to watching their role models play and the alcohol being sponsored. They get the impression that drinking is part of playing the sport and that can cause bad habits to arise. It is considered ethically wrong and inappropriate for soccer players to be promoting alcohol. These sponsorships make people believe that they can have damaging impacts on their children “real concern gave the evidence that showed exposure to alcohol marketing was associated with increased childhood alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm.” (Russell, “Alcohol brands should be banned from sponsoring sports, researchers say”). If these sponsorships are causing a rise in childhood alcohol consumption these athletes should be refusing to work with these companies. But yet they are not, this just exemplifies that these soccer players are not fit to be role models because as a role model you want the best for your audience that looks up to you. But yet that is not the case they still continue to endorse these alcohol companies knowing the lasting negative impacts they can have on a human life.

Violence is a part of any sport, it is the nature of the sport. But, it can be taken too far. Too far to a point where another athlete can get injured from poor actions. Soccer players manage to always get around being too violent on the field “The Uruguay superstar made front pages around the globe after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at this year's World Cup.” (Tomarchino, “Luis Suarez reveals why he bites people”). Luis Suarez is known for his famous biting of other players in order to get ahead of the game even though it is completely out of the rule guidelines. This is not Luis Suarez's first time for doing this inappropriate act, many look up to Suarez as a role model and by him making poor decisions does not only reflect on him but reflects on others who look up to him. People who look up to him can see these acts as being morally right or something that they should do, when they should not be doing any such thing. People will start to believe that breaking the rules is some way to get ahead and by Suarez making up excuses for himself it will cause the people who look up to him to make those unethical choices as well. Professional soccer players are constantly trying to find ways around the rules of the game, but they have stopped doing it discreetly so now the whole world can see. During a game this was witnessed by many, “Mamadou Diallo Kicks a Man While He's Down” (Turner, “The 50 Dirtiest Tackles in soccer history”)

To conclude, just because soccer is such a wide known and loved sport does not mean that is perfect. Like any other sport soccer has its flaws by injury faking, poor decision making, corruptions the list goes on. Soccer is still a beautiful game but it grew from being this simple game from when it was first being invented, to this corrupt game that consist of cheating and unethical decisions just to get ahead and becoming the best team or player. It just exemplifies that it is not soccer athletes that people should be looking up to as role models due to their deemed unethical bad habits including faking injuries, endorsing unhealthy products that could have a lasting negative effect and violence on the field that is out of the rules for the sport just to gain an advantage in the game.

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