Famous people are held to higher standards on account of being constantly in the public eye and setting an example through their actions and words. This applies with even greater force in today’s digital age, where online portals and social media platforms continue to erode the concept of privacy and expose every misstep almost in real time. Nowadays, few wield as much influence as professional athletes, their fame and fortune serving as inspiration for the younger generations. At the same time, the public tends to forget that these exceptionally successful individuals are only human and thus susceptible to the mistakes all people make. “History has shown what happened to the success of pro athletes who were not able to beat the habit, making it all the more important to hear the stories of those who won their battle with drugs,” as agreed by Joseph Band of US Marshals Service (USMS). Considering in what high regard sports celebrities are held, their involvement in drug education programs is critical for promoting clean and healthy lifestyles.
Even in the pre-social media age, when news sources were mostly television, radio, and newspapers, famous athletes influenced the behavior of children, both on and off the playing field. At the turn of the millennium, the Kaiser Family Foundation published the results of a study exploring the views of parents and children (aged 10 to 17) on sports celebrities as role models. According to the report, 56% of American kids are inspired by famous athletes, the problem being that the youngsters seem to receive mixed signals from their heroes. Joseph Band of US Marshals Service realized the importance of engaging sports professionals in drug education programs as early as 1970, while working for the Drug Enforcement Administration within the United States Department of Justice. He established, developed, coordinated, and implemented such a program for the country’s leading professional sports organizations known as the National Sports Drug & Alcohol Education Program. This education project became a springboard for athletes to serve as role models in the battle with drug abuse which was recognized by the White House.
Various studies have highlighted the beneficial impact of having a sports professional involved in such educational initiatives. As noted in a Stanford University report, a survey conducted in a Long Beach, California school revealed that 72% of students would rather hear a professional athlete speak to their class than an official representing the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. Since making young people listen is as important as spreading the message, the participation of celebrity athletes is crucial for the success of such projects. The example of professionals who have overcome their addiction is especially inspiring, and many of them have embraced the role of motivational speakers, sharing their struggles and helping others realize the dangers of substance abuse.
Joseph Band of US Marshals Service (retired) has spent 43 years accumulating concentrated, multidisciplinary experience in the fields of sports, teaching, management, and law, mastering intricacies in areas such as legislation, security, procurement, budget, and personnel. The American University alumnus has been participating in the Washington College of Law Moot Court and Trial Practice Competition, combining his responsibilities as a media statistician for numerous media networks. He has spent his 43 years with the Department of Justice, including, but not limited to, the US Marshals Service Office of General Counsel. He served as a Senior Counsel and provided legal advice to law enforcement personnel and numerous federal organizations over the years.
Joseph Band – Legal Counsel – Tontine Group – LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-band-a00a0363/