We Americans think we wrote the book on idolizing athletes. We really don't know a thing about it.
This story about the late Diego Maradona appeared in the Thursday, November 25th, edition of the Süd-Deutsche Zeitung. The photo suggests that Maradona has earned his angels' wings and a place in Heaven; but the title of the article reads, "Maradona's Cult-Status Suffocated Him." It sounds like his fan-base deified him, and like any cradle-Catholic, the falseness of his deification wrecked him from the inside.
Maradona's coach Fernando Signorini has written in his biography that Maradona had to submit to a blood-test, like professional athletes in any sport. Unknown to Maradona, the nurse who performed the blood-test filled a second phial, without Maradona knowing it, and brought it to the Cathedral of Naples to place inside the shrine to the Patron Saint of Naples, San Gennaro, alongside the saint's own phial of blood, putting Maradona on an equal footing with the saint.
At a famous football club in Brazil, someone painted a parody of the "Creation of Adam" from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Maradona floats across the ceiling to touch the finger of his successor, the Argentine footballer Lionel Messi.
Next time you think your college spends too much time promoting its athletics, think about how it must have affected Maradona. Let's hope the same does not happen to Messi.