Do Athletes Get Paid Too Much?

Do Athletes Get Paid Too Much?

Andrew Sego, Contributor

Yes. Yes, they do. The salaries of professional athletes are far too high.

In our society, one’s wage is traditionally based on the perceived value of one’s work. The work of a professional athlete is far less important than that of a teacher. Teachers educate the youth that are the backbone for our future economy, yet they are paid astronomically less than professional athletes. Police officers, firefighters, and people who join the military risk their lives serving the greater good of society, yet are paid a fraction of what professional athletes are paid. Just a brief example: DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers in 2016 was paid $21.17 million, while the average yearly salary of a police officer is $61,270. This is absolutely ludicrous. Even the President of the United States, undeniably one of the most important jobs, making decisions every day that affect the entire world, is only paid $400,000 every year. Compare this to Lebron James’ yearly salary of nearly $31 million and it is not difficult at all to see the massive disparity that exists.

I am not disparaging the hard work professional athletes put to get where they are and the work they continue to put in every day to perform at the highest level. It takes a great deal of determination and zeal to train for playing in the big leagues, perhaps more so than another occupation regarded as more important. But that is just it, the American system does not award wages based on effort put in, but based on importance of work. One could put every hour of their day into an ultimately useless task and be paid poorly for it.

Another very clear point comes from the fact that these athletes are earning copious amounts of money. Going back to the previous figure of Lebron James earning just under $31 million a year, he earns an excessive amount of money each year. There is no reason that the value of his work is worth this much, and he could not possibly use all of that money. This problem extends to celebrities as a whole, not just athletes. Their salaries could be cut by millions and nobody would blink an eye, they would still be able to afford the mansions, fancy sports cars, and other trophies only wealth can afford.

I am not saying that the professional athletes are not important, either. They are, they collectively provide a service to the entire nation almost every day of the week. My point is that America could survive without them, when the nation could not survive without other occupations but those are paid less. The fact is, entertaining Americans, while a respectable profession, is not more important work than being a doctor, a police officer, a firefighter, a lawyer, or the president, and thus salaries of professional athletes should be docked in order to be more proportionate with the occupation’s relative importance.