Professional Athletes Deserve Their Pay!

200547695-003Professional Athletes Deserve Their Pay!  

By:  Jamal E.M. Cummins

In today’s society, the high salaries of professional athletes’ are on the front page of every mass media stream from USA TODAY to Facebook.  Year after year their salaries continue to rise to astronomical numbers with no end in sight.  The average American will never see in that kind of money in their lifetime and with the recent economic recession, they are not too excited about the salaries of athletes.  There is a perception towards athletes that they are greedy people whose only concern is for the fastest cars, designer clothing, and liberal spending but this is not true for all athletes.  There is a phrase in sports, “In college, they play for the name on the front but at the pro-level, they play for the name on the back.”  This means that the athlete has lost the true love of the game.  Most people argue that athletes do not deserve the excessive sum of money they are paid while others feel that they do deserve that their high salaries.  In this essay, I will illustrate that there are elements of truth in both views.

In my opinion, sports superstars are worth their high salaries. There are many factors that we must consider before making rash generalizations concerning these athletes.  One factor is the time they spend practicing.  Professional athletes spend time in various environments such as gyms, football fields, baseball fields and the like. With the duration of the average sports season lasting between four and seven months, athletes practice nearly every day to include the offseason.  To begin with, there is an old saying, “Time is money”. To people, life is priceless for it is something money does not bring.  Moreover, a person’s time is not very long, especially for famous athletes.   Not only is a lot of their time spent practicing, they also have to make time for interviews with the media, which by the way are not fun especially when they are asked tough questions.  Additionally, professional athletes consistently sacrifice their time away from family to travel spending many nights in hotels away from family.  Many athletes grow weary from doing the same routine over and over and have a hard time dealing with these issues I mentioned above.  Therefore, they are worth the high salaries they are paid.

Another factor to consider is the risk of injury. Professional athletes are paid to give audiences excitement, but sometimes this excitement comes at a price.  Whether it is getting the touchdown in football or diving for the ball in baseball, athletes often times put their bodies on the line for the game.  The problem with this is that they usually keep playing while they are hurt by taking pain medicines that are provided by the teams to numb the pain.  This helps them when they are playing the game but once they retire, many athletes cannot afford to buy high priced medicines to offset the pain anymore.  This leads to players either filing for bankruptcy or having to start a new career to cover the cost.  There are some things that money cannot buy and that includes the health of these athletes.  Although some athletes receive surgery to fix injuries, they could never replace the original body they had before.  Thus, a great deal more money is what they are deserved.

Last but not least, athletes shoulder more responsibility than common people and they have to sacrifice their privacy.  As a professional athlete, you are constantly being watched by the media and society. Thousands of teenagers idolize famous athletes and because of this, they are required be perfect models for these young people by using their excellent performances. They have to mind their behaviors in public places and in their private times. Everything that they do will be exposed in public.  For example, when an athlete parties too much, he will be condemned as irresponsible. Thus, they are living under the pressure from every walk of the society. They basically have to give up their privacy in exchange for fame and money. They cannot go to shopping without disguise, and they are deprived of the right of living a normal life like everybody else. They can’t even go shopping or just for a brisk walk with their family in the street.  Hence, they are worth high salaries.

In contrast to my paper, there are many individuals who do not share the same opinion that I do concerning professional athletes.  The naysayers are disgusted with the rising salaries of professional athletes and their boldness in holding for more money.  Another argument is why are these athletes paid so much money when military servicemen and women, police officers, firefighters, etc are not compensated in the same way.  These individuals usually view professional athletes in a negative aspect largely based on the amount of publicity they receive through the media.  They are tired of hearing about their excessive lifestyles while they are struggling to make ends meet.  I would argue that this is the fault of our mainstream media.  No one covers the story of a Soldier from Dothan, Alabama who had been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan.  This Soldier sacrifices by missing birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions to defend and serve his country.  This story does not get the same audience that Terrell Owens would get after another disagreement with quarterback. 

In conclusion, I have made my arguments as to why I believe that professional athletes deserve what they are paid.  From time away from their families and to the risk of injury, there are a plethora of reasons they receive the huge salaries they are paid.  People need to understand that just because these professional athletes have their huge salaries doesn’t automatically make them diligent with their money.  Anna Maria Lusardi, an economist at George Washington University, who advocates financial education, says that athletes are the ideal students for financial management courses.   Professional athletes will continue to get the paid their high salaries as long as the fans keep coming to the games or watching sports at home.  The sports industry is a billion dollar business in which players only receive a fraction the profits that  owners and network conglomerates earn.  Therefore, I believe that they do deserve the money they are being paid.  If someone thinks a certain professional athlete would add value to their organization, I am totally in agreement with them getting what they deserve.