Former Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns star forward Charles Barkley is certainly one of the most outspoken people in sports, and perhaps his most famous quote took place when he was in the prime of his career nearly 20 years ago.
"I don't believe professional athletes should be role models," Barkley said. "I believe parents should be role models.... It's not like it was when I was growing up. My mom and my grandmother told me how it was going to be. If I didn't like it, they said, ‘Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.' Parents have to take better control."
There's a lot of truth in that statement, and parents shouldn't depend on athletes to be role models and raise their children. Still, there are plenty of athletes who any parent would be proud if their child emulated, and one of them is certainly Florida State safety Myron Rolle.
Anyone who follows college football knows a little bit about the story of Myron Rolle. The stellar athlete on the field is an even better student on the field, as he became the first football player in years to win a Rhodes Scholarship. Rolle is studying to be a doctor and the only thing he hits harder than opposing receivers is the notion that football players can't be intelligent.
Rolle is becoming a legend in his own right, and his head coach Bobby Bowden is certainly a legend in college football. Bowden had this to say about his stellar safety—
"He would be comparable to a lot of them (his former players), except he was closer to perfect. You don't worry about Myron. He's going to go to class, he's going to study, he's going to do his work. He's going to practice, he's going to practice hard. He's very steady, he's very consistent. Just an excellent young man to coach."
As a football player, Rolle earned third team AP All-America honors as a senior, to go along with second team All-ACC honors, and he was named a Lott Trophy finalist. Myron won the Touchdown Club of Columbus 2008 Male Athlete of the Year award.
Myron finished second on the FSU team with 57 tackles, to go along with five interceptions. Rolle has good range and is a sure tackler. Rolle's 6'2", 218 lb. size is prototypical for a strong safety and he compares to former Stanford safety Tank Williams.
"He's a very solid football player," Rolle's head coach Bobby Bowden said prior to the ‘Noles Champs Sports Bowl victory over Wisconsin. "His best football is still ahead of him, the longer he plays the better he'll get. Whether he's going to play any more I don't know, but he'll probably check the draft out. This is definitely his last game for Florida State. I imagine he'll check with the pros to see what kind of chances he'll have up there and make his decision to go on with school as a Rhodes Scholar or delay it."
Myron Rolle has been making the right decisions for seemingly his entire life and there's no reason to believe that won't continue. Rolle has decided to head to Oxford, and the NFL will have to wait. There is a good chance he'll head to the combine in 2010, where a good performance will be required to compensate for the year sabbatical.
He is certainly an asset to society and a role model for everyone.
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