He dealt with heavy sledging by Pakistan bowlers with innocence of a kid and maturity of an adult. His conduct off the field made him a role model. Ever grounded Tendulkar till date remains one of the most humble celebrities one has ever come across.
He created an empire from scratch with his sheer hard work and passion. Virat Kohli is a thing of today when globalisation and personal branding is at its peak. Tendulkar’s craze in an era where access to mobile phones, internet and even electricity was limited, reached a limit beyond imaginable.
However, the success never got in his head and did not just do anything for the sake of money. He has revealed an incident several times in which tobacco companies offered him signed black cheques to promote their products.
Tendulkar stayed unwavered and recalled the words of his father to decline the lucrative offers time and again. Here’s what he again said at a public event.
“I was just out of school when I started playing for India. I started getting many advertisement offers but my father told me never to advertise tobacco products. I got many such offers but I never accepted”, Sachin Tendulkar said at a public event.
“It was a promise I made to my father. He told me that I am a role model and many people will follow my work. That’s why I have never supported tobacco products or alcohol. In the 1990s, I didn’t have a sticker on my bat, I didn’t have a contract. But everyone on the team was endorsing two brands in particular – Wills and Four Square.”
“Tobacco companies offered me a blank cheque in the past to promote them, but I promised my father that I’ll never promote such brands as he said I’m a role model and people will follow what I do,” he added.
The comments from the batting great should hit the other icons of the sport promoting tobacco products really hard. The likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle have been associated with pan masala brands and promoted their products.
Kapil, India’s first-ever World Cup-winning captain is a heart patient, while legendary Gavaskar, who is a revered commentator now, is 73-year-old. Tendulkar’s former opening partner Sehwag runs a school and also talks about healthy products. West Indies great Gayle belongs from a region where Pan Masala doesn’t exist.
Despite the tremendous success these players have got in the game, they are for some reason promoting pan masala products. Each of these players hold Tendulkar in great regards and have taken inspiration from him at some point in their career (even after cricket).
In fact, Tendulkar has considered Gavaskar as his role model and Sehwag has the same sentiments for his former teammate. However, willingly or unwillingly, it looks like they missed out one of the biggest learnings on how to be a true role model in front of billions following them.
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