Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Estra Soler wrote a thoughtful op ed piece recently in the San Francisco Chronicle. They highlight disturbing facts about our youth, many of whom see professional athletes as heroes with super talent who have dysfunctional behaviors in their personal lives such as domestic violence and sexual battery. Boys and men in the U.S. who canonize violent professional athletes, say Newsom and Soler, “are more likely to be diagnosed with behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge-drink, commit violent crime or take their own lives.”
The authors are quick to point out that not all professional athletes are terrible role models. However, they speculate what a difference it could make if men and boys in America could “embrace healthier masculine traits, like courage, compassion, and sensitivity.” They call for a balance of “healthy and whole masculinity.” I think they’re right.
If you would like to find a wonderful example of how manhood should be modeled, just watch Stephan Curry. Curry, the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player, has been described as the face of the NBA and the best player on the planet. He is also a model of masculine success. His personal values have enabled him to remain grounded in a world of huge egos, self-aggrandizement, and, unfortunately, violent behavior both on and off the field/court.
Stephan Curry lives by these values: hard work, confidence, vision, discipline, praise of others, remembering the people who helped shape him, and most importantly, humility. He is a great model of manhood—and my kind of hero.