Parents Do Your Job

By Todd A. Smith

          I’m tired of it.  Every time a public figure behaves in a non-perfect manner, adults are quick to criticize that person as being a poor role model to the younger generation.  Sunday’s Andre Johnson fight, between the Texans star wide receiver and Pro Bowl Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan is the latest example of the stupidity of some adults.

            We are constantly looking for others to raise our children and criticize them when we do not approve of their “child-rearing” techniques.  In addition, when we do have celebrities who take their role model status serious, we constantly overlook the positive that they do and blow the negative way out of proportion.

            As a citizen of Houston, and diehard Texans fan, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that Johnson has had on his adopted hometown.  He is constantly giving his time to organizations and churches, like the Fifth Ward Church of Christ in Houston, and is one of the few wide receivers in the league that does not have a “me-first” attitude every Sunday afternoon.

            However, if you are not an avid football fan, you probably only know that name because of the melee at Reliant Stadium in Houston.  The fact that the Andre Johnson fight has become a YouTube sensation and is a top trending topic on Twitter is evidence that we are to blame for the negativity of celebrities just as much as the celebrity. 

Nobody cared that Johnson broke an NFL receiving record in that same game, becoming the first receiver to have over 60 receptions in eight straight seasons, or that he gave back to a church only weeks before.  He only became a household name because of the now-infamous “Andre Johnson fight,” which is also a trending topic on Google.  If we gave more attention to positive stories, maybe we would get positive behavior out of our children.

            Nevertheless, I am glad that the Andre Johnson fight occurred and I am glad of the outcome on the field, in addition to the NFL’s decision not to suspend him. 

Finnegan played dirty throughout the Texans-Titans games, striking Johnson in the facemask on several occasions and Johnson retaliated by landing several punches to Finnegan’s head.  Finnegan is known as a bully on the field and the Texans are seen as a soft team.  Sometimes you simply have to stand up to bully to earn your respect. 

After the suicides of several gay teens, the topic of bullying has become a hot-button issue on school campuses throughout the country. 

            There is no doubt that we need to attempt to stop bullying, but the fact of the matter is that will never happen.  Bullying is a fact of life and the only way to stop bullying is to stand up to the bully and defend yourself.  We have become so soft and politically correct as a nation that we cannot deal with reality.

            The Andre Johnson fight is a clear example of what should happen when one is bullied and should send a clear message to the bully that you can get knocked out and you too can become viral sensation like Finnegan.

            Football, like all other forms of celebrity, is simply entertainment and should not be confused with child-rearing.  Many celebrities gladly accepted being a role model, which they are.  I also like to think of myself as a role model and I aspire to be a role model.

            However, why would a parent want a role model to take the role of parent away from them?  Many people want values taught in school.  I am the first to stay that America is losing all morality and we should do something to correct it.  But what if the teacher has different values than me; do I really want those people imparting values to my child?

            I am Christian.  If you are Hindu, do you want me to teach your child my Christian values?  It is your job to teach your child the values you believe in, and the teachers job to teach your child that two plus two is four.

            The Andre Johnson fight is a reality of sports in life.  Sometimes arguments get out of hand.  But if you are tired of celebrities not doing their jobs as role models, I am pretty sure they are tired of parents not doing their job as well.

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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