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October 11, 2012

Role models who bite the dust

(Continued)

Two Armstrongs making the news in one week — one being eulogized, the other criticized.

Like you and me, we have our role models, even in advanced stages of life. In my journalistic sojourns, people like Andy Rooney, Art Buchwald and Mike Royko were writers any fledgling newspaper columnist would digest.

They’re gone, but I have another writer who remains tantamount to my profession. Mitch Albom personifies everything I would want in a journalist. Stories like “Tuesdays with Morrie’’ warm my heart.

I used to respect Pete Rose until he shamed baseball by betting on the game. His Hall of Fame luster was reduced to ashes. Should his nomination to the Hall be reconsidered, my opinion of the man wouldn’t change one iota.

The same could be said for sluggers like Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco. Whether it was steroids or some other drug enhancements that enabled them to power lift the ball, they don’t quite match up to the Hank Aarons of our time who maintained an exemplary career — or so it appears.

Much as I thought John F. Kennedy was a personified president, his private life left little to be admired. I couldn’t very well condone his womanizing antics. You could say the same for Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal.

Though I’m not a golfing buff, I did enjoy watching Tiger Woods dominate the PGA Tour. His popularity has been greatly reduced over his life as a playboy. I couldn’t care less whether he wins another tournament.

For my money, Phil Mickelson embodies true class in this sport. In baseball, it would be Derek Jeter hands down. At 38, he’s registered the 10th most hits all time in the Major Leagues. I’ve never seen the guy pop off to an ump, much less disappoint his teammates. He’s the consummate leader.

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