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Professional Athletes do Not Deserve What the Earn

 

Wouldn't it be great to make 31.3 million dollars a year and an additional 47 million dollars in endorsements simply to play a game? Michael Jordan, along with many other professional athletes thinks so. In the 1996 season, playing 3,106 minutes Michael Jordan made 170,000 dollars a day, equaling out to be 160.97 dollars a second. Even more unbelievable are Mike Tyson's earnings in his match with Peter McNeeley. In a single second, he made 281,000 dollars ("Professional AthletesÉ"). Do these athletes really deserve all that money?

 

"Professional athletes are making too much money in a society where salaries and wages are traditionally based on the value of ones work" ("Professional AthletesÉ"). In today's society, one will be paid more if their job is more economically important. However, teaching is one of the most economically important occupations because our future economy relies on the education of its youth, yet teachers are paid much less than the average professional athlete. The U.S President makes decisions that affect our economy and yet he only makes 250,000 dollars a year (Turner). Professional athletes do not play near as vital role in the economy as the president, but their salaries reflect otherwise. These games are supposed to be played for fun, not for millions of dollars.

 

Opponents of this view say payment is being received for a service, therefore professional sports are a business. Many people believe athletes are being paid for little work, but in fact they work harder than any one else. Not only do they work during their particular season; they also work in the off season. Most professional athletes train on their own striving to become better. They also attend miniature camps and their seasonal training camps. These athletes work year round to earn their high salaries.

 

Making it into the pros isn't an easy thing to do. It takes a tremendous number of hours of hard work and dedication every day to earn a job in professional sports. These athletes sometimes go through life threatening injuries for the love of the game. Considering this, one might think that these athletes do it for the love of the game not for the money. According to Gerald Sim, "The odds are higher for someone to become a brain surgeon than a NBA player, so isn't it more logical that the professional athlete get paid more than a brain surgeon?"

 

According to Chris Butterfield, it is the fan's fault these athletes make the money they do. They are the ones who pay 50 dollars for a ticket, 100 dollars for a jacket and 20 dollars for a hat ("Professional AthletesÉ"). If the public didn't help by buying these items, the money to pay these athletes the huge amounts wouldn't be there. In turn, their salaries would decrease.

 

Contesting such statements, take into account the Pittsburgh Pirates. A team of average players whose combined salaries were less than the personal salary of Albert Belle of the Chicago White Sox ("Professional Athletes..."). The Pirates were in a pennant race while the White Sox were not. This shows that a large amount of money is not needed to achieve success. Even if the owner spends millions of dollars for spectacular players, his team is not guaranteed success.

 

In addition, the enormous salary paid to these athletes is a vivid reminder of how money is ruining professional sports (Dickey). Every year there are strikes and lockouts because the athletes think they are not getting paid enough money. Once they have gotten a whiff of the riches they will do anything to get more, even if it means going somewhere else to play (Turner).

 

Signing contracts for enormous amounts of money has a down side too. Once an athlete signs a high dollar contract he is expected to play like a high dollar athlete. When an athlete has a bad day, the fans and sports writers let them know about it ("Professional AthletesÉ"). This happens because their salaries are public knowledge. Athletes complain about the public knowledge of their salaries, but why shouldn't the public know, they are the ones who pay the athletes' salaries.

 

The money given to the athletes could be used for more probable causes. Recently Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers signed a contract for 252 million dollars over a span of 10 years. This is enough money to feed the nation's poor for a year or to provide a lot more housing and shelters for the homeless. Others could benefit from the millions being wasted on these athletes.

 

The opposition has pointed out that what people do not realize is that if these athletes stop receiving the outrageous amounts of money; the public would not get the money. Society thinks that if the athletes weren't getting the money then it would be redistributed throughout the working class. That is not true at all. The money not given to the athletes simply goes into the owner's pocket, not back to the public.

 

Many of the professional athletes live paycheck to paycheck even if they make one or two million dollars a year (Greenberg). Some of the athletes spend extravagant amounts of money every day, causing them to be broke long before the next paycheck arrives. Many other athletes provide for their immediate and extended families. Athletes have to hire managers to manage their money. This is partly because they don't appreciate how hard it is to make a dollar. However, some are catching on. One wiser consumer received a bonus up front and invested some into fixed annuities and tax-free bonds. It's a good thing because, for example, the average NBA career lasts 6.2 years and it's half that for the NFL. Unfortunately most won't realize until it is too late (Greenberg).

 

Many athletes raise and donate money to charity. The United Way has become one of the largest charities due to the publicity and donations given by these athletes (Turner). Many of these athletes are not frugal with their money. They help our economy by spending excessive amounts of money. The public needs to realize that without the sky-high spending, the economy would not function as well as it does now.

 

In closing, these athletes are making too much money in a society that traditionally bases salaries on the value of ones work. These athletes do not know what real work is or how hard it is to make a dollar. Although their job is difficult, they do not play a role in our economy like their salaries indicate. Therefore, they should receive less money.

 

 

Bibliography

 

"Are Professional Athletes' Salaries Justified?" The Pioneer. [online] Available: http://cave.csuhayward.edu/CAVE/PIONEER/ARCHIVES/Index97/THIS

_WEEK_2_23_98/THIS_WEEK/athletes.html, December 18, 2000.

 

Dickey, Glenn. "Money the Root of Sports' Problems Jordan's Demand the Latest Example." San Francisco Chronicle. [online] Available:

http://www.sfgate.com/cigbin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1996/05/23/SP41770.

DTL, December 5, 2000.

 

Durkee, Nathan. "High Salaries Well Deserved by Athletes." El Molino High School.[online] Available: http://www.sonic.net/elmolino/paper/dec1898/salaries.shtml,

December 6, 2000.

 

Greenberg, Herb. "When it Comes to Finances, Many Pro Athletes Are Losers." San Francisco Chronicle. [online] Available: http://www.sfgate.com/cig-

bin/article.cig?file=/chronicle/archive/1995/09/18/BU62060.DTL, September 18, 1995.

 

"Professional Athletes Are Making Too Much Money." Shepherd College People and Websites. [online] Available: http://webpages.shepherd.edu/mwidmy01/athhtm.htm,

December 5, 2000.

 

Sim, Gerald. "$44 Million to Swing a Bat? Yep, and He Deserves it, too" The Chronicle Online. [online] Available:

http://chronicle.duke.edu/chronicle/95/06/22/gcolumn.html, June 22, 1995.

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