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Accepting the role of being a professional athlete

Linski's List

By Justin Maskulinski, For The Miami Student

If you have been anywhere near a TV during the last week or two, you've likely heard about the numerous domestic violence issues surrounding the National Football League.

The goal here is not to add insult to injury for Roger Goodell, the men accused or the numerous people that are surrounding the debacle that is the NFL right now. The goal is to speak clearly about what role NFL players need to accept.

The men in the NFL are under microscopes, and they should be. The majority of the men seem to be well behaved and understand that they are under a microscope because of the massive number of people who admire them. The problem in the NFL is that some players are not mature enough to handle the privileged life that they have been given. These athletes are role models for a young generation and that is a role they need to not only accept, but also cherish.

When a young football player stands over his peers, he is respected and possibly feared. When a player is gifted in high school, they are rewarded with scholarship offers. When that same player continues to excel at the collegiate level they are treated like a celebrity on campus, and given a chance to play in the NFL. When a player excels at the professional level they are given almost anything they want. Becoming an NFL star is not something that happens overnight; it is a long process that is full of pressure.

Some people are not cut out to handle the pressure of being a star. One of the most important parts of this job is being a role model for children. It sickens me that somewhere, a father or mother might have to explain to their young child why they should not wear their Ravens No.27 jersey anymore.

At the same time, this made up Ray Rice jersey scenario is one that needs to happen. If the professional athletes are not accepting their job as role models, someone else needs to. Children will look up to an athlete growing up, which is normal.

I grew up following professional athletes like Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller, but they did not teach me one thing about being a man. Those lessons came from my father and grandfather. That is why the issue of domestic violence and developing "the future of America" is an issue that stretches out much farther than the NFL.

The thought of violently attacking a woman is simply disgusting. It is just wrong. The horrible week that the NFL had is putting a bright light on the subject of domestic violence. Hopefully this spotlight causes the nation to reflect more on a crime that needs to be taken seriously.

Those affected by violence from the hand of NFL players need justice, but the 1.3 million women affected by domestic violence annually also need justice (stat from the American Bar Association).

Please understand the small percentage of immature "professionals" do not represent the majority of the NFL, and it is a shame that a man like Peyton Manning shares, or used to share, the same title of "NFL player" with a man like Ray Rice. These so-called professionals need to begin acting professional.

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