The whole ordeal with Todd Gurley, star running back for the University of Georgia, took many aback. This whole saga has forced us to, once again, examine the level of idolatry we practice with regards to athletes.
Humans have always placed a premium on physical prowess. It is an ingrained subset to our DNA. it speaks to the masculine desire to dominate, and the feminine desire to protect and enhance the genetic line. Long story short, it is the very definition of “survival of the fittest.” Yet in the modern age we are now being forced to look in the mirror and witness an uncomfortable truth.
Our hardwired sensibilities regarding mates and gender models are in serious need of an upgrade.
This is not to say that physical fitness is noy important. There are tremendous physical, emotional and mental health benefits to being in optimal shape. The reality is we, as flawed human beings, have allowed our own perceptions to be influenced by what we perceived to be an ideal image of the human form. Much of this has been accomplished through mass marketing associated with athletics. Of course, being as imperfect as we are, we tend to “default” to the primal mode when attraction and desirability are affected.
Simply put, we tend to look at the persons physical appearance and abilities, rather than personal judgment, as a first impression of fitness. Hence the concept of “might makes right.” This has created some serious cultural flaws, mainly the behavioral permissiveness shown to athletes, models and so-called “beautiful people.”
Where does Todd Gurley factor into this? While a highly marketable figure, a dashing image on the field of play, and a respected student, Gurley displayed the sort of questionable judgment most youths display at his age. Where the real issue lies is the hypocritical notion that youth should not be allowed to leverage their likeness to generate an income. If an athlete is granted the ability to do so, then the argument for payment of players is negated. A scholarship is a contract and should contain specific benefits, but those benefits come with obligations. Long story, athletes should not be restricted in business activities, but we must also understand these athletes are not model human beings. If they fail, there must be consistent consequences. Period
By our excusing bad behavior of these individuals off the field because of their on field feats, we enable the bullies, frauds and criminals among them. We enable thr “rule of might” rather than the “rule of law.” By fostering and enabling the “student athlete” mythos, we merely prolong our own delusion, at our own peril.
Gurley was likely of immaturity and poor judgment. We are guilty, collectively, of being naive enough to believe he could be a model citizen as a high profile athlete at his age.