When I was younger, I used to think that Entertainers and Athletes made absurd amounts of money and felt that it was unnecessary. As I grew up and took a few business classes, including economics, I realized that there is a reason to the madness. I decided to write about this subject because although David and I are still moving through the Minor Leagues, and the pay at these levels are a fraction of what you make in the Major Leagues, we aspire to be part of the elite. Honestly, there is a part of you that feels guilt for having the opportunity to make more money than 99% of Americans, but there is also an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for being able to make a difference through your successes.
Fortunately, David and I are on the same page about how we would like to use our newfound fortune for good. Note, that I am forced to speak in hypotheticals at the moment because David and I are still fighting for a position on a Major League roster – and yes, “He” shall be “WE,” because behind every great man is a great woman. 😉 I found this amazing article that explains why athletes are not overpaid better than I ever could and it is included below. There are a few things however, that I would like to address prior to concluding. When you think that athletes have it sooooo easy, here is a list of things to remember from an insider’s perspective:
1. They are just one injury away from losing their entire career.
2. They have to spend nearly half the year away from their families.
3. When their wives have children in-season, they get a maximum of three days off to spend with their newborn.
4. Their careers last an average of 10 years depending on the sport. Most will be required to retire before the age of 33.
5. Nearly 80% declare bankruptcy and divorce after retirement – The unfortunate reality of a MAJOR life change.
6. Living a life in the spotlight isn’t always welcome. Athletes just want to do what they love, the celebrity is a byproduct and not necessarily sought after.
7. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice….the entire family of an athlete has to make sacrifices in order to see their husband/father/son fulfill his highest aspirations.
8. Nearly all athletes have a charity that they raise money for and often do hundreds of community service hours yearly.
Above are merely a few snippets of the REALITY that is living the life of a professional athlete. Sure, there is a lot to love and much to enjoy, but don’t ever forget that money doesn’t buy happiness. What must truly fulfill these athletes is the love for what they do, philanthropy and ultimately faith. For it is those that find consolation in these things, that live fulfilled lives beyond the playing field.
And now here is the article that I mentioned above (note salaries have changed since this was written):
Created on: February 22, 2011
“In my opinion, professional athletes are paid what they deserve. Many may say that firefighters, law enforcement, teachers, and all those that are a necessity for society should be paid like athletes. With the utmost respect, I believe that they should not be paid any where close to what athletes make. I’m not saying that these people that help keep society running aren’t deserving of a better salary; by all means, they are perhaps the people that deserve it the most, but there is just not enough money being generated to specifically support them.
American professional sports leagues have a $25-35 billion dollar revenue. It is just completely outlandish to even consider raising a normal citizen’s salary by hundreds of thousands of dollars, unless the entire nation would like to have their taxes raised by a ridiculously large amount.
It is easy to see why many people want to be a critic of famous athletes for making so much money when the average annual salary for an American is around 35,000 dollars. When you compare this to the bare minimum salaries of leagues (NFL-285,000 NBA-385,000 MLB-400,000 NHL-500,000), average Americans have every right to be envious, but nothing more. Athletes should not be condemned for making lots of money nor should they be denounced because of lack of work ethic, generosity, or because of the absurd idea that they don’t deserve it.
The incredible work ethic of any professional athlete is absolutely unsurpassed. They are the best in the world at what they do, and that doesn’t come from just shear ability. They hone their skills every single day until it becomes second nature to them, then; they continue to work to stay at their peak performance. Although they are the most physically fit people in the world, there is a constant pressure to keep your production level as high as possible, because thousands are always fighting their hardest to fulfill a life-long dream to be a part of the elite.
One of the most popular reasons for people to be critical of pros is that they have all kinds of money, but are too greedy to give any of it up. In reality, however, it is the exact opposite. Millions of dollars are paid out-of-pocket by athletes and other entertainers to charities every year. Even the now, not-so-popular Tiger Woods, who recently became the first ever billion-dollar athlete (perhaps only half that now) has given a staggering 9.5 million dollars to a learning center and scholarship fund. Hundreds of others also create their own funds, charities, scholarships, etc. Almost everyone that becomes a pro athlete or makes some money by doing a movie goes back, usually to their hometown to make drastic improvements. They all do this to repay the community they used to call home, whether it was neat or corrupt.
If, after reading this, you are still doubtful of the worthiness of a world-class athlete, then I make this one last request. Try not to turn on your TV, buy any sports memorabilia, or attend any type of sporting event ever again; otherwise, you’d be supporting the ones you condemn. However, since this is nearly impossible, just accept the fact that pro athletes of all kinds; due to the inevitable concepts of consumerism and supply-and-demand, earn the money they receive.”
Here is a link to a debate in which various views are addressed by different writers: http://www.helium.com/debates/125438-are-professional-athletes-overpaid – feel free to make your own assertions.
And as always – thank you for reading!