Why male role models are more critical than ever

Bart_Simpson-Role_ModelHave you noticed how it’s become both politically correct and socially acceptable to bash males early and often during the workday? I know many men have.

As a sort of mild rebuttal, I thought I’d share a compelling argument for the growing NEED of more male role models from a most unlikely source.

A New York Times feature quoting a Major League Baseball survey said only 8.3 percent of players on Opening Day identified themselves as African-American or black. That compares to an all-time high of 19 percent in 1986. In fact, there are fewer blacks in MLB than at any time since 1959.

So, what’s that got to do with male role models, you ask? Bear with me.

Like many other know-it-alls, I’d always assumed the reasons for black flight from baseball to football and basketball were obvious: the latter sports were just a whole lot faster and cooler.

Well, according to the Times, that’s NOT why blacks have abandoned baseball. Rather, the reasons are two-fold:

- Division I college baseball programs offer only 11.7 scholarships per team and those few are divided among many, many players. As a result, says the Times, choosing baseball over scholarship-rich football or basketball programs made little sense to gifted young athletes from low-income families.
- As the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia told the Times,  “Baseball’s a sport where you learn how to play catch with your dad. There’s a lot of single-parent homes in the inner city, so it’s hard to get kids to play.” As an aside, a SmartCEO profile of FUBU founder Daymond John said he was raised by a single parent after his father left home when he was 10. John turned to clothes instead of Little League, and the fashion industry’s gain became MLB’s loss.

I can relate to the second scenario. My uncle, Buddy, made it his business each and every Saturday morning to take my cousin, Barry, and me, into our backyard beginning when we were three or four years of age. He taught us how to catch, hit, throw and run the bases.

Buddy also made sure Barry and I played Saturday Morning League, Farm League and Little League baseball. While neither of us made it to the Bigs, we had a male role model who might have enabled it. That’s a distinct competitive advantage.

So, the next time you pick up a book asking if men are still necessary, read another business magazine extolling the countless reasons why women make better leaders or overhear a co-worker say something like, “What do you expect? He’s a man,” think about ALL of the missing male role models in so many American families today. And, think about the impact the missing male role model is having on the development of someone’s son or nephew.

Forget about whether the kid will play major league baseball or not. Boys need the steadying hand, guidance and counseling that can ONLY come from a trusted and competent male role model.

OK, ladies. Go for it. Bash me for being just another typically boorish Neanderthal.

7 thoughts on “Why male role models are more critical than ever

  1. Rep have you completely lost your mind? WHY is it ALWAYS sports with you guys! You think the pulse of the socio-economic situation is measured by how many BLACK ball players there are- and some guy turned to the fashion industry cause he was raised by a single mother? Did you really write this, or is this really a guest post by the 32nd Street fruit stand guy.
    Holy Moses!

  2. Interesting response, Danderoo. I was merely confirming a fact mentioned in an exhaustive study undertaken by Major League Baseball and published in the New York Times. Many disadvantaged boys from urban areas suffer because they come from broken families minus a father figure. As I noted at the end, the blog actually had little to do with baseball, and everything to do with the continuing need for strong male role models in our society. That’s why I also asked women everywhere to first think about the larger societal issues before they next lambaste men in general for our many faults.

  3. And that’s the excuse the Jet’s used in West Side Story!
    “Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,
    You gotta understand,
    It’s just our bringin’ up-ke
    That gets us out of hand.
    Our mothers all are junkies,
    Our fathers all are drunks.
    Golly Moses, natcherly we’re punks! “

  4. Can’t agree enough with this take, especially the last sentence: “Boys need the steadying hand, guidance and counseling that can ONLY come from a trusted and competent male role model.” And I think that’s even more evident in the inner cities. Having come from a minority household WITH a father figure, I considered myself fortunate. The notion that men are irresponsible and crass is so prevalent in the media today that many folks, including men, are subliminally buying into it. I’m not saying it’s the media’s fault – clearly there is a concept of accountability us men need to learn – but it would be great to see more TV shows and movies about great dads. Maybe Daniel Murphy of the Mets can star in one?… And about the declining number of blacks in baseball, I wonder, if it’s an issue related to missing fathers, why is it that we have a large number of Latinos in the game, considering that as a minority group, Latinos also have many one-parent homes?