Jump Start Your Brain: Paid To Play

JumpstartHappy Saturday, Modern Philosophers!

Spring looks like it has finally decided to stick around, and I actually managed to get the screens down in several of the windows before Cali and Luna got too curious about the project.  I’ll have to wait for them to nap before I get to the rest of them.

As you know, I am a big sports fan.  I was thrilled that my Yankees defeated the evil Red Sox last night, and I did watch the first 6 picks of the NFL draft on Thursday to see if my beloved Jets would finally get it right for once.

I’m a little groggy this morning, so I’m trying to jump start my brain by conjuring up Deep Thoughts about how much athletes are paid.  I can’t seem to wrap my sleepy brain around the concept, so maybe talking it out with you will give me the jolt I need to get it going.

I saw an article online this morning about how much money these football players, straight out of college, are going to earn once they sign their contracts.  On Thursday, they were college students.  Now, they are professional athletes, making tens of millions of dollars to play a game.

Yes, I understand that football is a physically debilitating game, and that these young men are going to be dealing with pain and injuries for the rest of their lives, but does that really warrant such an incredible salary?

Are other students graduating this month going to walk into jobs that pay them eight figures before they even put in a day’s work?  Should it bother me that many of these players leave school early, and will be millionaires without even getting a college degree?

During the Yankees game last night, A Rod hit the 660th home run of his career, tying him with Willie Mays for 4th place on the all time homers list.  Of course, the announcers immediately delved into whether or not A Rod deserved the $6M contract bonus he is owed for hitting that home run.

Six million dollars for hitting a home run is crazy enough, but why is this clause in his contract being debated?  Because A Rod, a gifted athlete, who would’ve gone down in the annals as one of the greatest players of his time, decided his natural ability wasn’t enough.  So, he took performance enhancing drugs.

Why would he cheat?  He was already getting paid so much, putting up incredible numbers, and paving a path for Cooperstown.  Why destroy your legacy and put your career at risk by taking a banned substance?

Did he want to make even more money?  Get even more endorsements?  Put up even bigger numbers?  When is it enough?  Does the lure of all that money for playing a game mess with athletes’ heads?  Would an accountant “juice up” to get more tax returns filed by April 15?  Would a teacher go for the PEDs so she could grade more papers?

My Deep Thoughts tell me that all that money is a problem.  It is the root of all evil, is it not?  If athletes got paid the same as the average American worker, do you really think there would be a PED problem in sports?

As Rod Tidwell would say, “Show me the money!”

I know that sports generate billions of dollars, and the players are simply getting their fair share, but doesn’t it seem a little crazy when you look at what else is going on in the world?  Shouldn’t some of those millions be going to help the people of Nepal?  Couldn’t it be used to send more police down to Baltimore to assist with protecting the city during the riots?  Perhaps that money should go towards paying members of the Armed Forces, who are out their risking their lives to protect our freedom.

I don’t expect to find any answers soon, Modern Philosophers, but at least I’ve given my brain a jump start.

Hope I’ve managed to give yours a boost as well…

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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42 Responses to Jump Start Your Brain: Paid To Play

  1. D. Parker says:

    I agree, those millions could be much better spent.
    I think first responders, soldiers, nurses, and those who help should earn more money, they do important work, save lives, put their lives at risk, and can be injured or even killed. And those in need. Athletes, like all entertainers merely entertain, I’ve never understood why they get paid so much.
    Thanks for jump-starting my brain, I could use it. 🙂

  2. Ritu says:

    Too much money…. Way too much money spent on sports persons salaries!!!

  3. One explanation for taking performance enhancing drugs just now occurred to me: perhaps it is from sheer terror that they will not be worth the millions of dollars they will be paid. Perhaps it is low self-esteem and we should offer these deluded athletes counseling. Better yet, pay them less and the pressure will be off. I have no problem with some people being fabulously wealthy, but moderation in all things.

  4. I laughed at the idea of teachers grading more papers after taking PEDs. Like that’s what we’d do with them. I would predict a Mythbusters-esque science lesson. 🙂

  5. The athletes are paid so much money it doesn’t have meaning, except if it were spent for a better cause. I know nothing about sports but have heard about bum knees, dislocations, head injuries etc. These guys knew what they were in for, right?

  6. JED says:

    I give it to some athletes that do at least try to do good things with all that money. A lot devote time and funds to charity and those in need, but not all.

    I figure if someone wanted to give me millions to do my job I wouldn’t turn it down, Would it change the way I did it? I don’t know but I would love to find out.

  7. Enjoyed reading your blog! Made me think about the issue at hand and exercise my brain! Truth be told it also helped exercise my devils advocate voice!!

  8. List of X says:

    These athletes get paid whatever the fans are willing to pay them by buying tickets, merchandise, cable TV channels, and that’s after all the other expenses in maintaining the teams and stadiums, paying all other personnel, owners’ profits, etc.. I don’t watch sports and while I do think that it’s ridiculous to be paid millions to play with a ball, but if fans are okay with it, i’m okay with it.

  9. Anita Stout says:

    Not to be splitting hairs but it’s the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. Not money. Money is just green paper – a symbol till we endow it with power by emotionalizing it. Check that out though on Sunday when you chat with the Devil. He could have a different take than the Bible on this subject.

  10. kmunse says:

    LOL I was just going to say what Anita said. Dave Ramsey says, “money is not evil, the love of money is evil.” I happen to really like money and hope that my son goes pro so he can make a lot of money to put me in a really nice retirement home.

  11. kmunse says:

    And…..I’ll make sure he gives some of his money to some really good causes as well 😉

  12. mcowder says:

    Unfortunately sports are an expensive franchise and are able to over pay every employee, including the players. Doesn’t make it right by any means but people pay into it.

  13. markbialczak says:

    Only the tippy top guys get that type of money, Austin. The others get very good money. I also come away with the impression that many, many athletes set up foundations and give money to the very causes that you mention. It’s not all take for the smart and compassionate athletes. There’s a lot of give in that world, too.

    • Austin says:

      I was intrigued to read stories of players before free agency, who needed to get jobs during the off season to make ends meet. Imagine that today?

      • markbialczak says:

        Yeah, the old guys had to sell cars and insurance and stuff like that. Curt Flood broke the system and allowed players to finally get a more equitable piece of the pie. I’m far more pro-player than pro-owner.

      • Austin says:

        It’s just crazy how it went from working two jobs to making such an insane amount of money…

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