The Character Question
| 2 |
3 | 4 |
5 | 6 |
7 | 8
behavior has always been with us, but today's "gotcha journalism"
is making sin and scandal a daily public spectacle and even the
smallest infractions are fodder for overzealous scrutiny
it to Nike and Charles Barkley to sum up one of the most important
issues of the 1990s with a 30-second commercial. "I am not a role
model," said Barkley in the now-legendary 1993 Nike ad. "I am not
paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball
who says he plans to run for political office after retiring from
sports, adds that parents, not athletes, should be role models for
children. On-court prowess, the ad tells us, does not make anyone
fit to raise America's kids.
course, the position of public figures at the end of the American
century is much more complex then Nike and Barkley would have us
believe. On the one hand, the behavior of those in the glare of
modern media carries an increasing significance today, in an age
when much of our information is filtered through our televisions.
On the other, athletes, public servants and celebrities seem to
be caught misbehaving with increasing frequency. Those in the spotlight
may or may not be behaving worse than before, but most will agree
that the scrutiny on public figures is more intense than ever.
seem to unfold almost daily, revealing the sordid stories of the
rich and famous. The long list of the tainted range from Barkley
(whose public misdeeds include spitting on a young fan) to President
Clinton, and includes the 19 current and former UCLA football players
who pled guilty earlier this year to misusing handicapped parking