By ESPNSTAR.com staff
After a tumultuous season in the Barclays Premier League where several high profile players got involved in racism rows amongst other things, the summer Olympics in London only served to compound the public's dim view of footballers.
"I would agree that football is in real danger of losing touch with reality and footballers need to take some responsibility. But is this slide solely the fault of footballers? Sure, some footballers don't help themselves with the way they behave but as I've said many times, footballers are a reflection of society," Owen wrote on his blog.
"They are normal people that just happen to have a certain talent. If you grabbed a group of lads between 17 - 35 years old I'm pretty certain you would get a cross section of weird and wonderful people. Family men, alcoholics, homosexuals, criminals, lads with a tough upbringing, guys with drug habits, the list goes on.
"The Beautiful Game contains all types. It concerns me that just because somebody can kick a bag of air about pretty well, the majority of people think they should automatically be role models. It's ridiculous. I do appreciate that we as footballers should, at all times, be aware that we are being watched by millions of people on a regular basis but many people are simply not capable of being role models. Surely that is not their fault as nobody is born a role model, it can only evolve over time."
Owen - a vocal supporter of the Team GB athletes via social media site Twitter - believes it was inevitable the public would start looking at how the Olympic athletes behave and make comparisons with footballers. However, Owen thinks this would be an unfair thing to do.
"Over the last couple of days I have heard people commenting on the atmosphere during the Olympics, the spirit in which the events have been played and the sportsmanship displayed by those participating. In my opinion, unfair comparisons have been drawn between these and football matches," he wrote.
"Let's take it from the start. As children, a large percentage of the population are brought up supporting a certain team. If you support City, you are encouraged to dislike United. If your team wears Black and White, you can't have anything Red and White. The rivalry is ingrained in us throughout our childhood. With this in mind, can anybody seriously expect a football stadium to be anything but hostile to the opposing team and it's players?"
He added: "Football needs to improve it's image as a whole and the authorities are proactive in making this happen. Diving, feigning injury, abusing opposing players and showing a lack of respect to officials are just a few issues in a long list that need to be addressed.
"But let's not think everyone else have their houses in order. Rugby had the fake blood scandal, cricket had the match fixing episodes and even the Olympics had it's fair share of issues. Drug cheats, multiple badminton players trying to lose their matches and an athlete that walked off the track in the middle of a race claiming to be injured only to race and win Gold the following day."
"Having been in football all of my life, I know that there are many more good people in the game than bad. On Saturday, the greatest game on earth returns. It's time we all tried a little harder to make it beautiful once more."
The new Barclays Premier League season kicks off on Saturday with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle among the teams in action.