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Scandals tarnish athletes’ images

Credit: Jessica Thurston/Contributing Editor Credit: Jessica Thurston/Contributing Editor

Tiger Woods.

That name, which up until a few months ago may have brought to mind images of a well-mannered pro golf player, now brings up an entirely different set of images. With news reports of Woods’ 17 mistresses and counting, along with information about racy texts and voice mails, it seems that golf’s reputation as the gentleman’s sport will never be the same.

Along with Woods’ scandal about his string of affairs, the less-surprising news concerning Mark Mc​Gwire’s steroid use became public. With all the not-so-flattering sports-related news that’s coming out lately, the question that comes to mind is: What is going on with all of our sports stars?

Sports were once about integrity, hard work, training, and always playing one’s best. In recent years, however, admissions of steroid use, corked bats, and other attempts to cut corners and achieve success the easy way have been skyrocketing. And while athletes used to be good role models, their positive images have been fading quickly.

Tiger Woods is, essentially, the face of the game of golf — the name that even non-golf enthusiasts know. He was the most well-known gentleman of the gentleman’s game. But no one wants to say that they look up to a man whose affairs total in the double digits. And the monumental battle in 1998 between Sammy Sosa and McGwire seems much less inspiring after realizing that McGwire was using drugs to help enhance his performance.

Like celebrities, sports stars know that they are constantly in the public eye. Unless they want to be relegated to the status of socialites and reality stars, who are well-known but not usually well-liked, their actions need to undergo a major reform. These stars have a responsibility to have their private actions correspond to their public image.