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Role models come in all forms

Good men choose virtue because they know other people will follow their example.

Great men choose virtue even when they have no idea other people are watching.

Few of us can forget Charles Barkley’s bold declaration in 1993 that he was not a role model.

He openly talks and shows very little shame about some of his vices — gambling and overeating. He’s a grown man with a big bank account and a big appetite. So for the most part, his DUI arrest in Arizona earlier this week didn’t hurt anyone but himself.

The same can be said for athletes like Adam Jones — incredibly talented, yet bound by their own poor decisions.

Right or wrong, countless young people emulate entertainers.

Some people choose public status, like politicians, but why is their responsibility different than someone who plays a sport for a living?

No, people do not punch ballots for ball players. But by paying for tickets, buying jerseys and hanging on every sound bite or print clipping, fans hold athletes in the same regard as elected officials.

For several children who live near or below poverty, success at sports represents hope for a better life.

Barkley said after his arrest that he was disappointed in himself. He should take a look around.

Several other people are disappointed in him, too.