For years now, one of the most comment beliefs about professional athletes are that they are overpaid. “They make millions to play a child’s game!” people say, but they are wrong.
Professional sports are a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Even college teams make tens of millions of dollars and watching amateur sports is something unique to America. We love sports, we love to be entertained and between ticket sales, stadium prices, television deals, merchandise sales, sponsorships and forcing taxpayers to fund their massive stadiums, owners of these teams do extremely well for themselves, yet we continue to demonize players for getting paid.
At the end of the day, the athletes are the key product. Fans are turning on their TV or showing up at the stadium to watch them play, and they deserve to be paid for that. Many of us forget that while it may have began as a child’s game, these athletes are the best of the best in the world at what they do, and they do things you won’t see on a high school football on a Friday night. Not to mention the amount of work they have to put in between practice, studying film, working out and playing the game. Not to mention, that any injury can make a lifelong impact, whether it be the running back who can’t walk in his 40s because his knees are shot or the offensive lineman suffering from CTE. Despite all of this they only earn collectively half of what the each league brings in revenue-wise.
The problem is, we are hung up on the numbers without looking at things through context. “They make more than nurses or our military!” some shout. Of course they do. There are 2.9 million nurses in the U.S. and 1.3 million soldiers. More than 1,700 football players will spend time on an active roster this season, significantly less than the amount of soldiers stationed overseas or working nurses. The piece of the pie for athletes is bigger. Nobody is saying that the professional athlete’s job is more important than the soldier’s, and we need to stop comparing salaries as if they are equal when they are not.
Supply and demand is the bread and butter of our economy and these players embody that philosophy like no other. That hot shot free agent is going to get paid because there are a number of teams who believe they will be better by adding him and it allows him to command a lucrative contract. That is to no fault of the player.
At the end of the day, an athlete is no longer playing a child’s game, he is going to work. And given that he works a niche profession in a market that generate billions of dollars, his pay is going to reflect that. You simply can’t compare his career to someone else’s because at the end of the day, it’s not the same no matter how you spin it.