Are Athletes Paid Too Much?

I love sports. I love watching and being active in sports. There is something about running around catching and carrying a ball that makes me feel energized and fulfilled.

Sports has historically always been an important part of certain cultures. The Mayans created “The Ball Game”, an ancient version of basketball and soccer mixed, that involved religious importance.

The Greek Olympic games had religious importance, but also represented the physical qualities of young males and encouraged good relations between the cities of Greece.

In American history, sports is rooted in our culture. Baseball is America’s pastime, Sunday and Monday is football night, and golf is a gentleman’s game. It’s safe to say that sports is very important to America.

Sports are important for pride and money.

The sports world is making tons of money a year due to sponsorships, broadcasting and memorabilia. It’s no surprise that those working in the sports world are making a great deal of money.

From ESPN anchors to referees, they are coming home with pretty big checks.

The star athletes are the most paid in this business. With salaries worth tens and hundreds of millions.

The amount athletes are being paid has become a hot topic of late.

Many have voiced their opinions publicly through articles and TV interviews expressing their opinions about sports salaries.

Is there a problem with how much star athletes are being paid?

“Oh yea, it’s out of control, but our society allows it,” said Kristen Melican, the Sports Literature teacher at Dimond High.

She seems to share a popular opinion. Many have become disgusted with the amount of money that super stars like Alex Rodriguez, Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are making. These well known athletes are paid millions just to throw, catch and hit balls. What makes them unpopular is their actions off the field.

Tom Brady cheated on his pregnant girlfriend, Alex Rodriguez took steroids and Tiger Woods had his little affair with 21 different women. I can understand why some people would be hostile towards these mega athletes.

But should how an athlete acts off the field affect how much he is paid?

“It is a job a and they [athletes] need to take it seriously and be focused on it,” says Melican.

In today’s sports, most athletes don’t have a job off the playing field. Their job is to play on the playing field. During the season they play, during the off season they train and prepare for the next season.

They don’t get paid for the offseason.

“It’s so hard to get to that level and the amount of dedication and training that goes into it. It’s a hard question,” said John Snead, Dimond’s athletic coordinator.

Derrick Brewer, a Social Studies teacher at Dimond, disagrees with the notion that athletes are being overpaid.

“The marketplace sets it, they are being paid exactly for the wear and tear their putting on they’re bodies,” Brewer said. He isn’t wrong about the wear and tear. Athletes dedicate years to play.

Every major sport takes a toll on the bodies of those who play it. Football is notorious for head and back injuries. Baseball has all kinds of injuries from broken legs to pulled groins. Even golf has its share of injuries, whether it’s a stubbed toe or a golf club to the head.

For many athletes, they have lost their “big bucks” due to injuries and cuts, forcing them to live off what they have made already.

Years and years of damage and injury to a body can really affect someone’s income.

Brewer went on to say that ” Everyone looks at the superstars,  and there aren’t that many. It’s really the rare ones, like  your Tom Bradys, that make that kind of money.”

“A lot of those athletes aren’t big money, it’s a select few.” Said Snead.

The average income for a major league baseball player is $3 million. The average pay for a pro football player is around $500,000. I have to agree that not all athletes make millions of dollars. Those who are phenomenal, great, and those who stand out above the rest are usually the ones getting those big paychecks.

A team usually pays the best athlete or most well known athlete on the team the most. Teams look at statistics and how many bodies a player brings to a game.

Thats how they decide how much to pay an athlete.

An athlete can form a mentality that those fans are there to see them, so why are we surprised that they feel they deserve a little bit of the money they are making for that team.

“Each team starts out with a pool of money and depending on how many people they draft and what kind of contracts they set up will determine is being spent,” Brewer said.

If sports is a company, then who are we as consumers of that company, to say how much the employees of that company should be paid? Isn’t that the company’s job?

I have heard questions such as “How can we pay athletes millions when we can’t pay our veterans a decent wage?” and “Why do we pay athletes millions just to throw a ball and pass a puck when we pay our police and firefighters chump change?”

The government pays our veterans, officers and firefighters. It’s us who pay the athletes.

Without fans, a team has no money. Fans are everything to the sports world. Fans fill stadiums, fans buy the foods and memorabilia. Though the teams are the ones who decide how much an athlete’s salary is worth, we as fans determine their worth.

We pay to see our favorite athlete. Some of us buy their jerseys and their brands. Pay-Per-View broadcast events like boxing earned tens of millions a year because people want to watch their favorite fighter on TV.

Isn’t it safe to say that we are paying their salaries?

It’s not a perfect system. There are ways we could change and alter how athletes are paid.

“Let’s go back and start all over, where a million dollars is a lot [of money],” Melican recommends.

I stand in the middle of this debate, agreeing with both sides on certain points. I don’t believe it is right for professional athletes to stage a strike because they don’t feel they are being paid enough, when they are making more many than most of America’s populace.

On the flip side, I feel that if the public is against athletes being paid so much, then maybe they should stop watching sports on TV, buying tickets for games and purchasing sports memorabilia.

We as fans, determine how much a player is worth.