This past year has been incredibly brutal on people whom the public has formerly thought of as “heroes”; from Joe Paterno to Lance Armstrong to Oscar Pistorius, tales of corruption, cheating, and violence have torn down the images of men once regarded as perfect idols. I’m sure that I’m not alone in noticing that occurrences such as these seem to be happening much more in recent years than in the past–so much so that I’m now at the point where, after watching a feel-good segment on ESPN about a man or woman overcoming some adversity to win a championship, I wonder how exactly that person has deceived everyone to achieve what they have and when that deception will be uncovered.
Obviously, some famous scandals were uncovered before the explosion of over-enthusiastic paparazzi–Shoeless Joe Jackson and Richard Nixon are a few that come to mind–but it really does seem like each successive decade yields a lower percentage of unquestionable “heroes” than the one before it. So why is this? Is it due only to the increasingly aggressive media outlets in today’s world? If so, does that mean that many of the role models in the past also had dirty secrets that never got exposed? Or is it due to some kind of decaying morality in the world that more and more heroes do terrible things in order to succeed? Can someone’s story be so inspiring that it warrants deception to achieve it?