What should athletes deserve to be paid?
Many players have risen to stardom by becoming a professional athlete. Athletes have come from many different backgrounds; some from wealthy and some from poverty raised backgrounds. Salaries are continuing to rise, and money doesn’t seem to be an issue. Athletes are getting what they want from the owners by negotiating through their agents. Athletes’ salaries aren’t from their owners, but they come from other sources (“Athletes’ Salary”). Athletes get paid an extremely high salary for the work they do, and should consider the value of their work. They do not deserve the extreme amount they get paid and something should by done about it.
One issue that these high salaries cause is that having all this money spoils the athletes. Athletes buy so much unnecessary stuff after they get their money. For example, Michael Jordan has about 28 cars. Who needs all these cars? He didn’t buy all of these, but there is a certain limit on how many cars a person needs. Athletes spend their money on cars, entertainment, clothes, and their big mansions. Another instance of athletes spoiling themselves is the use of illegal drugs (“Pro Salaries”). Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys has been involved in many of these altercations. He has been through all the punishments there possibly is and still makes his money (“Pro Salaries”). Athletes think they are at a higher level and that they can do whatever they want. An issue that everyone hears about everyday that a pro athlete has committed a murder/crime. Ray Lewis, a safety for the Baltimore Ravens, is being tried for two accounts of murder. He is an excellent athlete. He is on the pro-bowl team for the 1999 season and led the league in tackles. He has just ruined his career by even being involved in a situation like this. Another player is Robert Lewis, a 20 year-old basketball player from the Dallas Mavericks. He was convicted of beating his girlfriend almost to death. A 20-year-old basketball star doesn’t need to feel that he is a king to be a leader. What kind of role model is he setting to other youngsters that want to follow in the same footsteps?
The salaries of athletes are extremely high for the effort that they put through. For example, basketball, baseball, and hockey athletes only compete for about 6-8 months a year. Then they have the whole summer off. The highest paid athlete was Michael Jordan (Spiegel 220). He was paid as a free agent 33 million dollars for a single season (Spiegel 220)! This salary is an outrageous amount but who really deserves it? Maybe Michael does, but in the future some no names might get this. Athletes practice maybe no more than 3-4 hours per day. That is half of what an average person works in a day. In the NBA, they only play 82 games a season. So, Michael Jordan was getting paid about .4 million dollars a game. Also, it was calculated from his average that he made about 20,000 dollars for every shot he took. Each game they play is for a total of 48 minutes. After that they travel to the next game. The athletes are getting paid whatever they ask for and they really don’t deserve it (Kindred 63). Maybe if they showed that it takes a lot of conditioning and a lot of practice, rather than going on vacations to Hawaii, they might catch a few more eyes looking at them.
One of the biggest issues that raise the salaries of the players are the endorsements and advertisements that promote their contributions. It was reported that Michael Jordan made 100 million dollars (profit) last year (Spiegel 220). That means he made almost 70 million dollars from other sources being clothing firm, advertisements, restaurant, and awards. The owners also are paying the athletes from the sponsors that pay them to advertise their company. Owners only get profit from this deal. Corporations are paying athletes millions to advertise their product, because the consumer would rather buy the product if their favorite athlete were supporting it. This is a major source of income for the athletes that they receive. Many athletes take time out of their vacationing to make commercials.
Who really pays the athletes’ salaries? The majority that pay for their salary are the fans (“Athletes’ Salary”). When you buy food, souvenirs, tickets, etc. Now if you go to the mall and buy clothes or cologne, you might be promoting the salary of an athlete (Bryjak 67). The fans continue to pay extremely high prices for tickets because they want to be entertained (Bryjak 67). You have to pay the price for the entertainment but is it worth it? The other side of the story is the corporations that pay the owners. They just make the wallets of the owners inflate. Owners then use the money to pay the athletes from their pockets (Bryjak 67). So much money is transferred from one hand to another, that much of the money lands back to the owners or where it started. I don’t like having high salaries for the reason being that the fans have to add more money for the fees that they will charge for their tickets (“Athletes’ Salary”). This is just another excuse for the owners to increase their wallets.
Is there love present for the game or is money the true love of the players. Many of the young players are thinking of money rather than their future. Many players have gone straight from high school to the professional level after being drafted. They don’t look towards their future after their sports career. They are getting long term contracts that will probably let them survive on it for the rest of their life. 20 year-olds don’t deserve this much money for playing a sport on the professional level. Kevin Garnett is going to be paid 126 million for six years (Kindred 63). This raises some question that in the college level athletes are demanding pay for their contributions to the school (Bagnato 1). They feel that they need the money while they play at the college level. The most they can earn from a part-time job is $2,500 (Bagnato 1). That is more than enough and then they want a salary while playing at the college level. It should be the other way around. They should be paying the school for the opportunity to play at their school. This is what will take them to the professional level because this is where the scouts look for them. If they want to play in the professional level they must show their talents off, not get paid for them. Education should come before athletics because one simple injury can take them off the court forever.
Another factor relating to athletes’ salaries is the case of free money. The main factor being that they don’t play when they get injured (Wigge 58). This is the one thing that athletes do to get free money without promoting their time. For example, in the NBA they have all sorts of contracts. There is one that is called the 10-day contract where the player is on the team for 10 days only for evaluation. During this 10-day stretch the player will probably only play 5-6 games. This contract is just a profit for the player because they will be getting paid for practicing just as much as if they were playing a game. There is no sense of competition in practicing like there is in a game. Why would they pay the same for each of them? Then there is the time when a player gets injured. There are some players that do this on purpose, the no name players. They aren’t getting their playing time, but the team could need them if their star players get hurt. So what the team does is, they put the player on injured reserve and they still get paid but they can’t play. It is a sense of security for the team. But if they don’t get to play, why would they get paid? For example, Jack Haley who retired two years ago, was one of the players who got paid for doing nothing. He was one of those injured reserve types. His nickname was known to be “the cheerleader.” The only thing he did was dress up in his sport coat and sat on the bench cheering. Of course he made only the minimum, but that still is a lot to most families considering the average salary for an American family is around $38, 782 per year (Kindred 63). For example, Sean Gilbert who plays for the Panthers sat out a year because wanted at least 5 million a year (Kindred 63). After sitting out a year he was then offered a contract 47.5 million for seven years. He gets a 47.5 million deal after he held out for 20 million. Then there is the salary cap that each team has assigned to them. This is the amount that the team has to limit their total team salaries to. Many teams go over the cap and then they have to let go of some of the players or they have to decrease salaries. The salary cap is a way for the owners to get at least a set amount of the profit that they want in the end. One of the leading causes to free money is not playing and still getting paid.
The main case about athletes not deserving their salaries is that the rest of the world doesn’t compare to them. Who do you think should deserve more pay, the president or an athlete? The President makes about $200,000 a year and he rules the whole country. An athlete provides only entertainment; he never has to make an important decision that will affect the whole country. An athlete doesn’t have that much power but by the way they get paid, you would think that they were important. The average baseball salary is 1.4 million and there are more than 317 players that make more than a million (Kindred 63). Remember that the average family income is $38,782 and these salaries don’t compare anything to this (Kindred 63). Still athletes argue with owners that they aren’t receiving what they deserve. Michael Jordan, who made 33 million, was still not satisfied with what he received. This is also known as selfishness and greed. Sean Gilbert, who was used above, would make what an average family would make in 1200 years. What does this say about their salaries? It says that they are overpaid, and the owners just want to bring a championship to their city at whatever the cost may be. This will increase their revenue greatly at the cost of the fans.
In conclusion, athletes receive more than they deserve. They don’t work hard as the average working person does. I am not downing athletes, but their salaries are too high to compare. They do entertain the public, but the expense for the entertainment is too steep. Athletes should make a decent salary, but they should have control over their limits. They deserve a salary that would compare to other officials who are more important to the people and that have a role which effects the people as a whole. Something must be done before a drastic change occurs.
“Athletes’ Salary.” CQ Researcher. 2000.
Bagnato, Andrew. “Against the (cash) flow as revenue streams into college coffers,
Some athletes are clamoring for their cut of the profits.” Chicago Tribune 23 Feb. 1997: 1.
Bryjak, George J. “The Name of the Game is Money.” USA TODAY Sept. 1998:
Danziger, Lucy S. “Sweet Inequity.” Women’s Sports and Fitness July 1999: 17.
Kindred, David. “In the name of sanity.” The Sporting News 20 Apr. 1998: 63.
“Pro Salaries.” n. pag. On-line. Internet.
http://www.nonline.com/procon/html/prosalary.htm. 12 Jan. 2000.
Spiegel, Peter. “Athletes.” Forbes 22 Mar. 1999: 220.
Wigge, Larry. “Millennium mind-set: Open up game and close wallets.” Sporting
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