Do Professional Athletes Get Paid too much Money?
Sports are one of the most common and popular activities that people indulge in. At a professional level, however, there are limited positions for individuals who manage to make a living from their sports activities. Thus, the majority of athletes participate in sports for only health and leisure purposes although sports seem to be an easy profession. Nevertheless, the professionals are more appreciative of their sporting talents and price themselves out of the labor market. This has provoked the debate on whether or not professional athletes are overpaid in the world today.
Athletes across the world earn millions per year compared to other professions like nurses in the US who only earn about $40,000 a year. Considering the state of the world economy and the ever worsening plight of the poor people across the globe, the wages athletes are paid and the way they spend their money engages public interest. This debate is not conducted on a mathematical platform but rather a moral one as athletes are often labeled as greedy and the sporting industry – as misguided and extravagant. For the most part, sports fans also agree that the money resources the industry accommodates are impressive, and the public opinions on this subject have divided. Currently, the highest paid athlete is a baseball player named Alex Rodriguez who is paid about $28 million a year (Agyemang & Singer, 2013).
First, it is important to acknowledge that from a mathematical perspective, the salaries in sports are mildly speaking blasphemous. According to Agyemang and Singer (2013), athletes earn between $800,000 and $6,000,000 a year, and these are just their basic wages that exclude sponsorship and endorsement deals. This aligns them with the highest earners in the world regardless of how much work they do and how many hours they work, which proves that the figures revolving in this industry are extremely high.
There are two main arguments that support the idea that athletes are overpaid, and the most interesting one is the concept of deserving high salaries. Sports are an entertainment that others indulge in for their own health benefits, but at the professional level, it only serves to excite the spectators. This means that professions like teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers and engineers deserve much higher salaries considering the kind of work these individuals do and how they contribute to the social welfare and global economy. The fact that athletes earn much more than any of the ‘deserving’ professions implies that there is something wrong with the calculation formula given that those who contribute more actually get paid less (Beamon, 2008). The business world today is modeled around the concept of performance related compensation practices, and in the sports industry, performance is measured within the industry but not with respect to the global economy. Athletes are thus argued not to be contributing to the development of world economy in any way, and yet, their wages number into millions per year.
Another argument is that athletes are not necessarily role models considering the reckless lifestyle that they engage in (Beamon, 2008). Putting them at the top of the food chain in terms of their earnings sends the wrong message to the youth who eventually want to model the riotous lifestyles of the athletes. The problem resides in the fact that the vast sums of money deprave athletes to the point that they even lose concentration on their talents and start using illegal performance enhancers. The high salaries are paid to people who are not prepared for that kind of money and social responsibility. Although there are some sportsmen who donate some of their earnings to the poor and needy, the overwhelming majority of them waste their money, which results in debts once their short-lived career comes to an end.
To become a professional athlete, one has to train vigorously for a long time in order to develop that extra factor that helps them stand out against other athletes. For this reason, not so many professional athletes exist in a world where almost everyone is engaged in sports. Therefore, the amount of money paid to a professional athlete is relevant to the amount of work it takes them to become a top-ranked sportsman.
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Secondly, professional athletes are constantly in the spotlight, and to be interested in sports, people need to see how joyful the life of a sportsman is. Thus, athletes are paid hefty sums to comply with the glamorous stardom. In today’s high society magazines, the athletes share popularity with super models, fashion designers, musicians, actors and other media personalities (Bascom, 2012). In addition, they are the internal market for their organizations, which requires that they be treated well to attract other athletes into the organization and industry.
Also, the career span of an average athlete is rather short and can end more abruptly than predictably. This means that the athlete needs some kind of security in exchange of good performance. The high wages paid to them ensure that they are able to live comfortably after their retirement. Unlike other professions that imply to 40 years of active employment, sports has an average of between 3 and 6 years of active engagement, and this would not be enough for retirement savings the wages were not as stupendous as it is now (Zambalist, 2001). Most athletes dedicate the best years of their lives to their work, and leaving them uncared once their career is over would be inhumane.
Professional Athletes Being Paid Too Much
Walking through the halls of Sally High one day, my ear caught the words of two young individuals debating over an interesting topic. It was a discussion on the large pay difference between what they thought were hard working Americans and jobs of the entertainment market. As I continued to think more in depth about this current discussion that had just been overheard, I decided to come up with my own opinion.
The same question continued to run thru my mind: why should hard working teachers that are educating the future of America be paid so little in comparison to those who are getting paid solely for America’s entertainment? To many sports fans complain and grumble about how they should be paid what professional athletes are, yet none of them consider the fact that sports fans, who spend hundreds of dollars to go watch a televised event live, are actually the ones supplying the athletes with all that money.
The enormous salaries that the athletes are paid are a direct result from all of the sports fans who pay to see their favorite athletes play in person, instead of, watching those same athletes on their television.
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Americans have been putting very high value on entertainment for decades and pay insane amounts of money for it. For example, the average cost for a ticket to the Super Bowl is roughly $4,000. That $4,000 does not even include the airfare some Americans spend just getting to the game.
The detail that bothers I the most is that people who are educating the future generations are getting paid, on average, 5 figures every year.
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In comparison to a professional athlete who is there only for entertainment to America gets paid roughly 7 to 9 figures each year. Even if an athlete sits the bench for 99% of the entire season, they still get paid more than the individuals who are working day-in and day-out to make sure America will have an educated population for generations to come.
As an athlete, I find t extraordinarily annoying when ESPN or ESPNU tells a news story about how a professional athlete listed as a free agent declined an offer of 40 million dollars a year because it isn’t enough money. In my head, I try to tell myself that if I were to be that person, I would play for any team no matter how low the pay was just because of my love for the game. The topic of salary will always be one that is debated, and opinions may vary, but my opinion will always remain the same. Professional athletes are paid way too much in comparison to that of a teacher or a fire fighter.
Are Professional Athletes Overpaid Essay Research Paper
In today’s society many will argue whether or not professional athletes are overpaid. In the present time athletes are being paid phenomenally large amounts of money for their entertainment. It is my claim that all professional athletes are overpaid because they do not offer society an essential function that improves or enhances our world in comparison to other professionals such as medical doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Society does not value entertainment enough to warrant such high salaries such as those of many professional athletes. There is no reason that these athletes should demand these tremendous amounts of money. This is why you have to put into question their reasoning for demanding such high salaries.
When addressing the value of entertainment, there is without a doubt, that we as a society value entertainment highly. But there is no reason that these athletes, who are here to merely entertain us, get paid higher wages than those that save our lives and teach us such as medical doctors and teachers. I find it ridiculous that players make millions of dollars a year, and yet demand more. The entertainment that these athletes provide is solely entertainment; it is not essential to the function or productivity of society. If I were to become a professional football player I would not complain about my salary for many reasons. I am playing the sport that I love and getting paid for it. The minimum wage for football is well over $100,000 a year, as is for many professional sports. These reasons by their lonesome are enough to warrant that the salary professional athletes are paid is suffice.
Athletes are paid large amounts of money. It can also be argued whether or not these large sums of money have somewhat “spoiled” these athletes into settling for nothing less then what they think is a sufficient contract. In an article from the New York Times Patrick Ewing quotes “with the money I’m making now I can’t afford to support my family.” (E13). This comment is ridiculous; there is no way that a multi-millionaire should have a problem supporting their family. These athletes have to set their priorities logically and realistically, a person doesn’t “need” a multi-million dollar estate they just want one; this is what angers me. Another aspect that can be touched upon is whether or not they respect the people who provide their paychecks; those being their fans.
Athletes argue that they are role models for children and endorse products. This is true, but it is what goes along with the job. I would be prod if I knew that billions and billions of young impressionable children wanted to be just like me. You should not have to be paid to be a role model, there is no reason that one should be negative, commit crimes, and do “bad” things regardless of you being an athlete or not. It should be an honor to be praised and loved by billions, this is why I feel the reasoning of the professional athletes that demand higher wages are illegitimate.
The value of entertainment in our society is arguable. We as a society constantly search for new ways to entertain ourselves; professional sports are a major contribution to our source of entertainment. If those who support athletes and their sports have no problem paying to see them, then there should be no problem when an athlete asks for higher pay, because it is the fans who make their paycheck.
Athletes should be able to demand higher pay because they pose as role models, help sell products through endorsements and have shorter careers. For example a star basketball player such as Michael Jordan made many contributions to the city of Chicago. Jordan brought publicity to the city, people traveled from various place to see him perform, and many tremendous amounts of money for the owner of the Chicago Bulls. Also, Michael Jordan had a major influence on the sale of Nike brand sneakers and apparel. Athletes such as Michael Jordan are the people that our kids want to grow up to be like, athletes pose as role models and are always in the public eye and have to be virtually perfect. These factors alone should warrant higher salaries. An athlete has to endure injuries and possible physical complications later on in life. For many athletes there is no retirement plan, this is the reason they want to make as much money as possible in their short-lived careers. Professional athletes have a higher standard of living, which means they need more money to maintain that standard of living. Others argue their reasoning is to help their reasoning is to help their descendants such as their predecessors did for them. For example, Karl Malone, professional athlete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) quotes:
“It [supporting the union] isn’t about helping Karl Malone,” he says. “I’m going to get mine. But if you look at the history of the NBA, the leaders always left the next group of players with something better, from Dr. J to Larry Bird to Majic Johnson. I’d like to be part of that.”
-Karl Malone, Sports Illustrated, p.183
Taking the risk of financial instability due to injury, a higher standard of living, and short career in comparison to other professions are enough to allow athletes to be paid large amounts of money without any negative response.
Although sports are a major contribution to our societies source of entertainment, it is not essential. Medical doctors and teachers, who are essential who are essential to the development of our society do not demand outrageous pay; they can be considered underpaid. The fans of these athletes are the means of which their paycheck is provided. Some of these overpaid athletes do not respect their fans, so why should they demand higher pay when they don’t respect the provider of their paycheck.
Athletes are role models, this is true, but there are many other societal figures that are role models. I feel that every person should try to be a role model, and inspire the younger generation to be successful. Professional athletes also endorse items such as sneakers, clothing, etcetera; but they chose to do so, it is not forced upon them. These athletes that do endorsements make money from the products they endorse, thus adding to their income. These athletes cry poverty, meanwhile they have various sources of income, it’s just ridiculous.
Athletes do have to endure injuries, but that is the risk they have to take when they decide to play a professional sport. They should have acquired other skills that will enable them to enter another profession if they are injured while participating in a professional sport. Athletes have higher standards of living by choice; if for example, a single parent can raise three children on an inadequate salary, there is no reason an individual can not survive on well over 100,000 dollars a year. I am not saying these athletes should lower their standards to be equal with the level of an indigent, but they should be realistic when saying they can’t survive on several millions of dollars per year.
In conclusion, my proposal to this problem is arbitration. Not all of the professional athletes demand outrageous contracts. In many sports there are already salary caps which will help remedy this. The athletes have to agree to settle for less, and in compensation a possible retirement plan or some form of benefits should be assembled. The only athletes that I truly disagree with are the ones that can’t differentiate between “needs” and “wants”. Luxuries are wants, and necessities are needs; if they could settle for less (yet still reasonable) money they would avoid lockouts and holdouts, and continue to entertain our society, which is their whole purpose.
Boody, Kevin (High School football player).Personal interview. 18 Nov. 1999.
Farell, William E. “Holdout Continues”.New York Times 15 Aug.1998:E13
Gaetano, Chris (College football player).Personal interview 18 Nov. 1999.
Martinez, Michael. “Malone Wears Union Label.” Sports Illustrated 17 Aug, 1998:183-184
World Almanac and Book of Facts 1999. New Jersey: A Primedis Company, 1999.