The issue of role models is complex.

Not many people set out to be a role model. It tends to be an expectation that is attached to those who find themselves in positions where their personal behaviour is seen as having the potential to influence the behaviour of others.

Teachers, politicians and other public figures are natural candidates for role model status.

Actors, footballers and others who acquire celebrity status as a result of their jobs or lifestyle can also be seen by some as having the opportunity to influence young impressionable minds for good or ill. 

However much they may resent and object to that status, they have to accept what they do may be seen as exciting and serve as an an inducement to some to imitate their behaviour.

The media doesn’t always help when the celebrity obsession of some of the press and broadcasters throws a spotlight on the worst excesses perpetrated by what are just fallible human beings like the rest of us but whose lives are deemed to be worthy of close scrutiny.

But when the individual is earning weekly sums of money that exceed most people’s annual income, it is not too much surely to hope that the removal of the insecurity most of us have throughout our lives might perhaps prompt an awareness of how they might not avoid accusations of hypocrisy and somehow give back in some way to the society within which they are admired or revered and which has given them the advantages they enjoy.

Teachers, for instance, know how they can be perceived as role models and are trained to be sensitive to that at all times.

We must assume that politicians are in the main inspired by a desire to set an example, to make a difference and to benefit their fellow citizens, but if you watch Prime Minister’s Questions on a Wednesday lunchtime you might question that.

In that, they are often no different to the highly paid footballers who surround a referee after every decision that goes against them and also habitually dive and dissemble to gain advantage.

What does that say to the young impressionable fans and what example do they then bring to their own engagement is sport?

Why does the sport still not take action to stop the haranguing of referees that the footballers know never changes anything anyway?