Some of you out there may remember the commercial above by basketball player Charles Barkley where he said, "I am not a role model." This stirred up a lot of press at the time and a debate on whether professional athletes have a responsibility and accountability for their actions - especially with children as fans.
Now, what people don't remember is that Barkley later in the commercial says that parents should be the role models and not athletes. He makes a good point here, but as the press does, they take things out of context can causes an uproar.
A study from United Press International Wednesday reported something really disturbing. It stated that 3 percent of 15-year-old kids admitted using performance enhancing drugs. This study involved a secondary school in eastern France.
Health problems, including becoming violent, change of voice and loss of consciousness, were experienced by 4 percent of the users, according to the researchers.What really bothers me is that this is probably an underestimation of the real number. Self-reporting studies usually gives an inaccurately low result. Much has been written about athletes taking (or allegedly taking) performance enhancing drugs from Barry Bonds to Floyd Landis to Ben Johnson to others.
I don't care what anyone says. Kids do see this stuff. In my opinion, kids are exposed even more now to the "win at all costs" attitude of sport. Being designated a winner means fame and fortune - just ask those kids going from high school straight to the NBA or kids like Michelle Wie who are balancing high school and being on a professional golf tour.
Finally, how about this. What if an accurate study could be done seeing what percentage of adolescents in the United States take performance enhancing drugs? What do you think the numbers would be? I'm kind of frightened to find out.