Lessons Children Can Learn

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Ryan Braun's suspension is just one of many recent examples of athletes who should not be considered role models. (Matt Slocum/AP)
Ryan Braun's suspension is just one of many recent examples of athletes who should not be considered role models. (Matt Slocum/AP)

For more reasons than I've time to list, I've long thought it was silly for kids to adopt great athletes for their role models.

But that's not to say that youngsters can't learn a lot about how to comport themselves by studying the behavior of the folks whose names appear in the headlines of the sports section of the paper, assuming such kids are among the dwindling number of people who still read papers.

Anyway, from Ryan Braun, recently suspended from his job with the Milwaukee Brewers, they can learn that if they choose to indulge in banned performance-enhancing drugs, they should perhaps throttle back their actual performances. Getting recognized as the league's most valuable player raises your profile, kids, and probably increases the chance that you'll be caught.

And when you do get caught the first time, don't deny everything loudly, because that makes you look silly when you get caught the second time.

Youngsters aspiring to pro football careers at such powerhouses as West Virginia can learn from Korey Harris, former sophomore defensive lineman at that celebrated institution. On July 12, Mr. Harris allegedly held at gunpoint the residents of a home in Morgantown, W. Va, while he and two associates helped themselves to cash and electronics. Mr. Harris's relative inexperience in the burglary line led him to wear his West Virginia sweatpants during the adventure, meaning that his number, 96, was clearly visible to those whom he allegedly relieved of their property.

Kids, you can learn two things from this twisted tale. Number one, when you're going to commit a felony, dress in something other than team gear. Number two, unless you're a Heisman Trophy candidate, don't count on the university to bail you out. When asked about Mr. Harris, West Virginia's director of football communications said, "We have no comment on individuals who aren't with the West Virginia football program."

Finally, kids, if you must sabotage your future, avoid the path chosen by Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison. He was arrested in June for slugging a bouncer. Last weekend, he got more creative. He got arrested for barking at a police dog.

Listen and learn, kids. It was a bad choice. If he does one day ascend to the NFL, Mr. Morrison can look forward to some of the most creative hazing ever endured by a newcomer.

Think about it. "Hey, rookie. 'woof, woof.'"

This program aired on July 24, 2013.

Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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