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There is significant discussion as to whether athletes should be considered role models.  Some athletes have been asked to behave as if they were role models for their local communities,  and some such as Hank Greenberg have deliberately tried to set a good example  but generally regarding athletes as role models has been criticised due to their appointment often being based solely on sporting ability rather than any morality   — it has been suggested that the discipline and control shown continuously by sportspeople on the field leads to a belief from viewers that these same qualities are continuously shown off the field. These and other factors such as the elements of competition, excitement and success are what make people want to emulate them.  Charles Barkley has stated that he believes athletes are not the figures that children should be emulating and that it is the parent's responsibility to be role models,  that the role is deliberately applied by the media out of jealousy in order to make life more difficult for sportspeople, and that it sets up the sportspeople as an unattainable target for most. 
Mesmerizing focus: Television, with its ability to move in close and parse the action, has certainly brought the skills of players like Jordan into mesmerizing focus. But in spite of the tube, or perhaps because of it, celebrity heroes now appear to be more fleeting and fragmented, like the culture they come out of. Janet Harris, a professor in the department of physical education at the University of North Carolina, asked children and adolescents whom they most want to be like. "They had a lot of trouble answering," she says. "Most identified no one person, but several people with different characteristics. We or ended up not even using the data." As part of her study, to be released in her forthcoming book, "Athletes and the American Hero Dilemma," Harris analyzed popularity lists published in the World Almanac and found most of those selected remained on the list only a year or two. (Jordan, an exception, hung in for six, until the last time the list was published.) When a star stumbles, it's so widely and avidly reported now that even the very young can hardly avoid hearing about it. But the University of Georgia's Fine, for one, believes such exposure gives kids a more accurate idea of adults and society in general. "This is what adults are," says Fine. "One of the things kids have to learn is to make decisions about what the world is like and then make decisions on how to fit into that world." That's a lesson some of our more refractory superstars might do well to ponder, too.