Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oscar De La Hoya: The Golden Boy Shows Some Tarnish

Oscar De La Hoya recently revealed that at his lowest point he contemplated suicide. He also revealed that he was unfaithful to his wife and abused cocaine and alcohol. These actions clearly don't reflect the "Golden Boy" image Oscar has projected over the years and raise serious questions about his character and authenticity. Should the public forgive Oscar De La Hoya for his past indiscretions?

If you are going to use the present standard for judging athletes then absolutely not. Oscar is no different than Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Jordan, or Bret Favre. His persona has been a complete lie and he's let down millions of fans worldwide (especially kids) who looked up to him as a hero and a role model.

If you take the athlete/role model part out of the equation he certainly deserves a pass. Oscar De La Hoya is a man with charm and charisma, matinee idol looks, and hundreds of millions of dollars at his disposal. It is completely unrealistic for people to expect boy scout behavior from him all the time.

In addition he suffers from the same affliction many former athletes face, what to do when the crowd stops cheering. Oscar De La Hoya has been boxing since before he was a teenager and nothing in his life will ever fully replace that. When you're a 5 time world champion it's hard to go back to being a regular guy. Anxiety and depression set in and like a lot of people Oscar turned to women and drugs. He was man enough to admit he had a problem and is working on becoming a better person.

Star athletes are cursed by the outdated definition of what an athlete/role model should be. Until the public and media realize these guys are human and succumb to pressures and opportunities most of us can't imagine things will not change. In the case of Oscar De La Hoya it's just another example of an athlete that's had his dirty laundry aired out in the open for public scrutiny.

If you criticize Oscar you hold him to a higher standard than he's capable of. If you forgive Oscar you accept the fact that you won't agree with everything an athlete does or doesn't do. Which side are you on?

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