JO DAVISON: Role model madness

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When Wayne Rooney sneered into a TV camera and snarled a blue streak, he proved, yet again, that money and fame don’t buy you class.

He acted not like one of the world’s greatest ever players, a multimillionaire with all the glory and success any football-mad lad could wish for.

He became one of the vile, loud-mouthed gobshites you’d hurry your kids away from if you saw them ranting and blazing on a street corner at some cowed and timid creature – a child, a mouse of a girlfriend or a Staffie terrier.

It didn’t surprise anyone; we’re used to scummy behaviour from certain footballers. Particularly this one, with a penchant for going with prostitutes behind his wife’s back.

But this was a football-booted step too far.

There it was, a ruddy red-faced rant: the proof that he does not deserve the idolisation of kids the world over.

And that, actually, society has got this role model thing all wrong.

His boorish behaviour is all his own fault, but he didn’t set himself up as a paragon of virtue for the next generation of young men, or as a shining example for scores of little Wannabe Waynes.

All that came with the territory – thanks to the agents, the public relations people and marketing bigwigs who pounce like vultures on a fresh bit of raw talent and dress it up like a pig in pants so that it can earn huge amounts of money. Mainly, for them.

Sporting prowess has yanked young men who are as rough as bears’ backsides from a humdrum life.

The scores of pretty young singers who, once groomed by the managerial equivalent of a hoe’s pimp, dress and writhe like hookers on stage in front of audiences made up of 12-year-old girls... they have become the Marvel comic-strip super-heroes of the young.

And we’ve let it happen because we’ve also fallen for the lie that getting rich quick, and finding instant fame, takes us straight to Utopia.

All the values we were brought up with – and should be instilling into our kids – have gone out the window.

Like the importance of honesty and human decency, and working hard, and not selling your soul or trading on your sexuality to get you places.

There was a time when role models weren’t pop stars and reality TV no-marks, but parents, teachers and bosses.

They set the example on how to conduct yourself and what life goals to aim for, and how.

As a child, I had two. First my mother, then my auntie,

My husband wanted to be his uncle. I think he still does.

Britney Spears, who re-raunched her career last week by writhing around in fishnets and a pair of shorts so brief they must have nigh on split her difference, is not a fit role model for young girls.

Who were her role models, I wonder?

When Wayne Rooney was swearing into the camera lens, he wasn’t thinking of his responsibilities as a role model to young, impressionable fans – a duty he maybe never wanted.

But neither was he thinking about the example he should have been setting his toddler son.

And that’s a job he DID sign up for.

I think that speaks volumes.