Opinion: Latino Athletes Who Have Fumbled At Being Role Models


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By Rodolfo F. Acuña

Last July, salsa singer Marc Anthony, responding to a question on television’s stereotyping of Latinos, answered that “the entertainment industry doesn’t owe us anything.”
While Mr. Anthony is entitled to his opinion, he like all of us, who are Mexican American or Latino, owes something to our communities. A lot of people fought and suffered so we could have rights – history did not begin for Puerto Ricans when Marc Anthony started to sing.
Entertainers and athletes have historically had a special place in the Mexican-American/Latino community. As kids, we often vicariously live through them.
I used to scour the sport pages for items on Enrique Bolaños and Art Aragón, although truth told they were not particularly good role models. For example, I remember how one evening I witnessed a street fight between Aragón and Lauro Salas in Echo Park – both had been drinking heavily.
Sadly, this is a pattern followed by most Mexican boxers. Who can say how great Oscar de la Hoya could have been if he would had been a role model for the kids of East L.A. Instead, he chose, like so many other boxers, to party his chance to become a champion and beat Mayweather.
For me, it was a series of disappointments.
Although I was not a good athlete, I liked sports and looked up to the good players. I never got beyond over-the-line softball, which I would play from 9 a.m. to 10.p.m. at a local playground. In those days, school playgrounds stayed open til 10 at night.
The only baseball player who was Mexican that I can remember is Bobby Avil a Me,ican-born second baseman who in 1954 edged out Ted Williams for the batting crown with a .341 batting average. However, Avila had his heart in the homeland, and he did not reach out to us pochos – it did not help that he played out East where they did not have a large Mexican fan base. Avila never became a news item and did not motivate many of us.
To read full story: http://latinalista.com/2013/09/guest-voz-play-by-play-of-the-latino-athletes-who-have-fumbled-at-being-role-models