I found Bill Shirley's article on the sports fan very interesting. What seems to have been left out of this lengthy article was the part sportswriters play in this ritual. They might not affect the thinking of the casual reader and fan all that much--he did note many are avid readers of the sports pages--but they can influence the minds and actions of those avid, or rabid, fans. One writer's displeasure with an athlete can be multiplied into numerous abusive fans at a sports event.
Shirley used the quote: "Sports do not build character, they reveal it." So does the writer's copy. This leaves the choice of role models to one's individual interpretation of "character."