Are Professional Athletes Overpaid?

Growing up, children used to say they aspired to be doctors or firefighters when they grew up. Nowadays if you ask a child what they want to be more are quick to say they want to be a famous music artist or NBA player. Television, iPhones, and easy access to social media have contributed to the hype of the entertainment/sports world. Recently I learned that Alex Rodriguez, who plays for the New York Yankees, will be paid $275 million to play for the Yankees for the next 10 years. It was the most lucrative baseball contract in history. This means for the next decade, A-Rod will take home $27.5 million a year, that’s more money than most people see in their entire lifetime.

The salary of professional athletes has always been a hot topic on public forums. While we do enjoy watching our favorite teams play during the sports seasons, most feel that athletes salaries are ridiculously high while other figures in our community who hold far more important jobs are extremely underpaid. The money athletes are being paid would be money better spent on education or paying teachers or people who impact our lives or the community. Firefighters, policemen, and soldiers go through extensive training and put their lives in danger every day for the sake of protecting us and our country yet the average salary for each of those occupations isn’t even a fourth of what an NBA player makes in one year. The military protects our country, which ultimately helps our economy in a much bigger way than athletes or team owners do. However, the salary of a high ranked sergeant in the Army is just over $66,000. Teachers may not help our economy directly, but they educate our youth which, in a few years, will be affecting the economy in huge ways. The president of the United States has an annual salary of $400,000; why does the man with the most important job in the world make far less than Kobe Bryant? A doctor goes through years of medical school, is faced with thousands of dollars of debt once they’re done with school, only to make less than the rookie bench warmer in the NFL.

Unfortunately, athletes are paid by the owners of their respected teams, not by the government. This means that even if we cut their salaries, it wouldn’t benefit the general public at all; it would just mean more money in the owner’s pockets. Even though I think professional athletes are overpaid, it doesn’t matter. No amount of letters to the NBA heads or protest pages will change that. However, better question for us to ask is, are professional athletes over/under taxed? Once we consider the take home pay after taxes minus the additional costs associated with this lifestyle spread over a lifetime, we can decide whether or not this is an appropriate salary. After much consideration, it is my belief that it’s still a ludicrous amount to pay one individual.

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