Image can truly mean everythingPublished 12:00am Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Though he's innocent until proven guilty, the fact that Kirby Puckett has been accused of dragging a woman into a men's room of an Eden Prairie restaurant and assaulting her can't help but tarnish his image, an image which has faded steadily in recent years.
That Puckett's image is tarnished is truly unfortunate, not necessarily for him if he did the crimes he is accused of, but for his fans, who for many years felt Puckett stood out as a classy guy despite all of his fame and fortune.
Guilty or not, it would seem now that Puckett was probably more skilled than other athletes in projecting an image to the media and his fans.
No question, Puckett's downfall should be a lesson to those who decide to make professional athletes their heroes.
The fact is, while we can be impressed by their athletic ability on the field, we would be unwise to expect the majority of professional athletes to be anything but flawed individuals off it.
Professional athletes, for the most part, have been told their entire lives that they are better than everyone else. While that fact only applies on the field, it would be rather difficult not to feel the same off it. Combined with wealth and fame, it's a wonder that any professional athlete would not be considered arrogant.
Puckett's case is unfortunate, indeed. But what's more unfortunate is that, even for a "good-guy" athlete, it isn't surprising.