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Sportspeople no role models

3 1 0

OPINION: Can we once and for all discard the fiction that athletic ability alone makes anyone remotely qualified to be anyone's off-field role model?

I'm thinking, of course, of Israel Folau, the hard-running homophobe who just couldn't resist the urge to condemn us all to Hell. But not only him: also the sex pests, pub brawlers and social media oversharers who crop up with monotonous regularity in our sports news pages.

When elite athletes go professional, clubs are desperate to craft them into more than simply good players, but paragons of all manner of virtue. This is motivated in large part by the desire of these codes not to alienate families, mothers in particular, by allowing a flurry of scandal to dominate coverage of their sport.

Competition between competitions – for clicks, bums on seats, subs and eyeballs – has never been more fierce. This is why sporting franchises have come to take public relations so seriously over the past 20 years.

* Folau 'refused to delete posts to save his career'
* Perenara and Weber have exercised their power to change lives
* Should the All Blacks be role models off the field?

Over eight years in the........

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