Label volunteer writer Leah Langley enlightens us on the scrutiny that the world’s athletes are put under and their increasingly pressurised status as role models in society.

The world’s athletes are constantly in the public eye and under the scrutiny of the global population. Many athletes find themselves making the headlines for a variety of reasons whether these are positive or negative. It is no secret that the athletes of today are looked up to by people of all ages and their behaviour has an effect that is felt worldwide.

Perspective Role Models

There are a handful of athletes who are often in the headlines for their charitable work and goodwill. John Cena, WWE superstar, has found himself in the headlines many times since starting his career. He currently holds the highest record for granting “Make-A-Wish” requests with over 450 wishes being granted for sick children. He is often seen visiting sick children at their homes and makes frequent visits to children’s hospitals to bring some joy to the patients. Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably one of the best football players in history, and yet he donates a lot of his money to different charities and pays the hospital bills of many patients, it is also believed that the reason he is yet to get a tattoo is because he wants to continue with blood donation without risks of cross-contamination. Undoubtedly one of the top tennis players of all time, Rodger Federer, is seen to assist a variety of charities that reach victims of natural disasters and in 2006 he was appointed as a UNICEF Good Will Ambassador. Such athletes have been part of leading the increase in charity work that sports fans have been partaking in, worldwide.

Whilst there are athletes who help to promote good behaviour and charitable work, oftentimes this can be overshadowed by less than ideal actions being carried out by fellow athletes.

Lewis Hamilton Controversy

Recently, Lewis Hamilton was one of four drivers who attracted the attention of the stewards at the Russian Grand Prix after breaking the rules laid out by the race director. Hamilton had asked his team if he was able to complete his practice starts from an area of the pit lane, that was further up than the usual spot, and they confirmed that he could, however the stewards disagreed. This results in him receiving a 10-second penalty which consequently led to him making claims that his punishment was a purposeful effort to prevent him from winning. This sparked a lot of controversy and social media platforms were full of differing opinions and several arguments for and against the decision made. Knowing how much attention Hamilton attracts, the question posed is whether he should keep any of these striking allegations to himself for the sake of his reputation and imposed societal standing as a role model.

Djokovic Temper Tantrum

Another athlete who found themselves under scrutiny was Novak Djokovic who was disqualified from the US open after accidently injuring a line judge by hitting a ball at her. Djokovic lost his fourth-round match, removed a ball from his pocket and hit it behind him which subsequently ended up striking the line judge in her throat resulting in him being defaulted from the tournament. This was not the first exhibit of temper that Djokovic had shown during the match as he also hit a ball into an advertising board after the match was brought back to a deuce. As a result of him being defaulted, Djokovic lost all of his ranking points earned at the US Open and was also fined the prize money that he had won at the tournament, as well as being made to pay all fines that occurred as a result of the incident.

Many other athletes over the years have found themselves in very similar situations and their behaviour often brings into question the influence that they have over the population. Not all athletes are bad, but it seems clear that the bad actions get more publicity than the good deeds of others.

Header Design by Frankie Stevens – Head of Design

Edited by Lois George – Sports Editor


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