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Athletic Salaries

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Why professional athletes deserve what they are being paid

Professional Athletes Salaries

I have developed a love for baseball and have done a lot of research to understand and to defend my position on the topic of their salaries. I have engaged in surveys with sports fans and non sports fans. I have had extensive conversations with people that I consider experts on the subject of sports and salaries, in addition to an enormous amount of web surfing. I am not here to change your mind and get you to believe only me, but to entice you to make a new decision based on new information. I completely understand the position that individuals take on the enormous salaries that professional athletes make. However, I ask a few minutes of your time to “walk a mile in their shoes” (Kirby/Goodpaster, 2007) from my perspective and that of many others. I would like to talk with you what is takes to become a major leaguer, the logic behind their enormous salaries and where that money is generated and about the personal dedication and contribution to society that these players provide on a daily basis. Let’s discover the whole story and see where this leads us. Let me ask you a couple of questions to ponder first as you listen to my story. If your child had a natural ability whether it was sports, numbers, or debating would you do all that you could do to inspire and encourage a pursuit in that career field or put a cap on potential earnings? As a professional Sports player, it takes dedication from childhood. First the love of the sport is identified. Then teaching and playing on a regular basis is required. These players are dedicated to the game at a young age and it requires playing the game in junior high school, high school and college, also attending special camps that hone in on your special skill. It is a very competitive world. The more one plays and trains the better they become; hoping and praying that some scout might see them and what they have to offer. To make it, you have to have natural ability or seriously developed skills and years of dedication. Somewhere I heard the three “D’s” Desire, Determination and Dedication. The desire to be the best they can be. The desire to dominate their sport and know that this is what they are put on this earth to do. Dedication, which includes possessing the drive and ambition to keep you focused. This requires self-discipline, a strong will and a positive attitude. One must commit themselves, sacrificing personal time, family time, and social time. Last but not least, determination, to overcome obstacle and set-backs. The determination to see the big picture, to do their best every day, in every game requires attention to every detail. Athletes train long and hard, starting at a very young age. Any sport will require long hours and years of practice if you want to make a living as a professional athlete. ("How to Become a," n.d.)To be compensated for years of dedication, desire and determination- it then appears that the salary is not enormous as one once thought. Basketball Hall of Famer David Thompson, once the highest paid player in team sports, and now a motivational speaker, believes they are getting paid what they deserve: "Since players have such a short time to make their money, and basketball is such a popular sport I have to say yes they are" "Especially, if you look at some of the other people in the entertainment business. Boxers make a lot for one fight and actors and actresses make millions per film. In addition to starting young, players of all professional sports have short careers. Typically an average citizen works thirty plus years, the sports player ten or less (Clemons, 1996). For the NFL the average is about four and half years. An injury can occur at anytime. (Eskins, 1996) Sometimes this injury is a permanent one that can change the entire life of the player and his family. Sports are a business and an owner will dump an athlete who is prone to injury. A saying in the sports world is “It is not what you did for me; it’s what you can do for me now. Vin Scully the iconic voice of the Dodgers, lead announcer for CBS then NBC radio sports tells of a typical day of a ball player. It goes something like this. A team finishes a game at 10:30pm on the west coast. They are due to play in Chicago the next day. If they are lucky they will get out and on a plane by 12:30am which is really 2:30am in Chicago. It is a four hour flight, so you land at 6:30am. By the time you deplane and get your luggage it is already 8:00am.Chicago is busy this time of morning, so if they are lucky they get checked in to the hotel by 9:00am. Pull the curtain to block out the sun and hopefully get a few hours of sleep before having to show up to at Wrigley field at 1:00pm for warm-up and practice. ("The Official Site Of,"n.d.)
At 4:00pm game time they are expected to play as professional players and to stand up in front of a 90 mile and hour fastball. There are no excuses, regardless of the lack of sleep or jet lag that set in due to a three hour time change or problems from their families that they had to leave behind once again. For a baseball player this happens at least six days a week for as long as eight and half months. Another aspect to consider is supply and demand. This is the number one equation when it comes to athletic salaries. No owner is going to pay a player more that they can afford. "On the entertainment scale the athlete profits from what the public enjoys. It's what the market dictates." (Clemons, 1996) "The sports industry is a $90 billion business and growing. Athletes, income make up only 5 percent of that. So that tells me 95 percent is going to other areas. The athlete is the engine that truly makes the game." Athletes, salaries should be compared only to other salaries in their own industry, As noted by Werner Scott, president of Advantage Marketing
Group (AMG) in Dallas, TX. "When you're only making 5 percent of the pie, you should be looking at what is the total pie and what you contribute to that pie."(Clemons, 1996) A single player can attract millions of viewers, whether it is actually at the Arena, on the television, or radio In addition there is revenue generated by sales of tickets memorabilia, food, beer, cotton candy, peanuts and popcorn. Do you think that the owner should get it all? Is it not reasonable to think a fair and equitable division of the assets be divided? Doctors, lawyers and actors are paid by the talent that they posses. Should it really be any different for a professional sports player?
All these avenues generate revenue for the owners. Still, there are many players that prefer an area more than others and have turned down jobs that pay more to keep their family in a certain location. This is a clear indication that it is not always about the money. Sport industries make far more money off a player than the player themselves are getting paid. (Athletes’ salaries,) In reality they should be getting paid more. If you know the income generated from your performance and/or the money generated from sales of your name on a jersey was 5 billion dollars a year for example would you not feel entitled to a portion of that? It is nice to say that a person would accept a million dollars a year and that is enough for anyone, but if we need to look at it in simpler terms we could look at it like this, for example. Let’s say you produce a product and asked a mom and pop store to sell it for you. They agree but are going to sell your item at 20 dollars apiece and you are only going to get $2.00 for each sale. Would that seem even fair? You did the work and you have the talent, but the store is going to make all the profits just for showcasing. That is ten percent of the profits. Remember stated earlier, professional athletes only receive 5 percent of the profit. Would you be satisfied or demand your fair share? Another thought provoking stance is this question? Would the economy be better off without professional sports? Let’s take, for example, just a few who give so much back to the world that I wonder if their salaries were not so high, would the same charitable donations be made possible? Who would fund these wonderful charities?
While most baseball fans know Albert Pujols for his brilliant play on the field, it is his dedication to those less fortunate off the diamond that defines the man. Thousands of children have healthier lives and smiles, thanks to this gracious, young man. The Pujols Family Foundation, an organization benefiting people with Down syndrome, disabilities and/or life threatening illnesses as well as children and families living in impoverished conditions in the Dominican Republic. (Pujols, n.d.). Pujols has also sponsored several medical missions to the Dominican Republic benefiting thousands of people with necessary medical services, including teams of healthcare professionals and the donation of hundreds of thousands of dollars for supplies and equipment. Dental missions are routinely among the many causes the foundation sponsors each year. After the St. Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series, Pujols gave up a golden opportunity to attend a meeting at the White House with the President. Instead, he decided to honor a prior commitment to accompany a group of dentists on a mission to the Dominican Republic to provide dental care to those most in need. During that trip he provided two portable dental units and much needed supplies to his native country. Early in 2009, Pujols lent his support to the American Dental Association's “Give Kids A Smile” program, which on the first Friday of February each year provides children from low-income families with free dental care and support. This past February more than 12,000 dentists and 32,000 team volunteers provided free services to approximately a half million children at over 1,600 locations across the country. (Pujols, n.d.). Jorge Posada, New York Yankee Catcher, now Designated Hitter, founded The Jorge Posada Foundation. Its mission is to raise awareness in the United States and abroad of the condition known as Craniosynostosis. This affliction is where the skull fuses together before the brain is done growing. The Jorge Posada Foundation also provides funds for innovative and groundbreaking projects that create a deeper understanding of the condition and the required medical treatments. In addition, financial support and grants are given to medical centers that treat families touched by Craniosynostosis. Mr. Posada and his wife reach out to those families whose children are affected by Craniosynostosis by providing them with emotional support through its family support network and by providing financial assistance to the costs of initial surgeries. (Posada, 2011)
David Robertson, pitcher for the New York Yankees since 2006, founded “High Socks for hope” along with his wife Erin Robertson. The foundation was created to help those affected by the devastating tornadoes that hit David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27, 2011. David has pledged to donate $100 for every strikeout he records throughout the 2011 Season. Aside from his exploits as shortstop and captain of the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter triggers several images in America's collective mind-set. Jeter began the Turn 2 Foundation, a charity organization, in 1996. The Foundation was established to help children and teenagers avoid drug and alcohol addiction, and to reward those who show high academic achievement. The organization's name derives from the baseball double play (where "turning two" refers to making two outs on one play) and indicates the goal of the Foundation to give youths a place to "turn to" instead of drugs and alcohol. ("Derek Jeter," 2011) Jeter is also involved in Weplay, a website designed to encourage children to get involved in sports. ("Derek Jeter," 2011) During the 2009 season, Jeter and Mets star David Wright represented their foundations in a competition sponsored by Delta Air Lines. The player with the highest batting average received $100,000 for their foundation from Delta, while the runner-up's foundation received $50,000. ("Derek Jeter," 2011) Wright's group, the David Wright Foundation, focuses on multiple sclerosis. ("Derek Jeter," 2011)
Other Charitable organization founded or sponsored include but are not limited to by any means are: Professional bass angler Kevin VanDam and #39-Ryan Newman sponsored a Fish Your Bass Off which raised over $40k for Michigan International Speedway Cares. Their mission is to create a lasting, positive impact on our community through charitable giving and volunteer efforts that cultivate community growth and advances quality of life. The Tony Stewart "Smoke Show" fantasy camp, the highest-grossing, single-day event for Speedway Children's Charities-Texas, produced $131,000 for the Texas Motor Speedway charity. The Kenny Irwin Jr. Foundation's Dare to Dream Camp, which hosts a minimum of 300 children a year and about 4,000 over the past eight years. His parents learned after his fatal crash that he had paid hospital bills of children they didn't even know. NASCAR Drivers contribute to Levine Children’s Hospital, Hurricane Relief, Blood drive, Jimmie Johnson’s Foundation of Helmet of Hope, Jeff Gordon’s Children Foundation. Newman Foundation heads up relief efforts for displaced animals. NASCAR, in partnership with the Armed Forces Foundation, focusing on wounded service members, or service members in jobs that are particularly emotional and physically demanding, an opportunity to get away from the challenges they face each day with an exclusive, VIP-style NASCAR race day experience. This is just a few of the contribution that are made, when we look at the big picture professional sports player give a lot to communities of the world. Where would all these good deeds come from if not from those who are fortunate enough to give back when they get so much? I have had the pleasure of attending 6 different professional sporting events in the last two years. As a trained Equal Opportunity advisor and diversity manager, I was in awe at the truly amazing ability to bring people together regardless of social standing, race, sex, or religious background in true harmony. All barriers, bias, and conflict set aside for a few hours of fellowship and comradeship. An air of excitement, hope, and a common bond filled the stadium. This ability to unite a society is hardly worth putting a price on.
"I say you're worth everything you can get," Norm Van Lier, host for the Chicago Bulls on cable TVs Sports Channel says. "There are a lot of overpaid people in the world, not just athletes." References

Athletes Salaries. (n.d.). Retrieved from . 14 Nov 2001 “Athletes Salaries
Clemons, Veronica. (1996, August 5). Are sports superstars worth the millions they are paid? Retrieved from http:/ / findarticles.com/ p/ articles/ mi_m1355/ is_n12_v90/ ai_18535139/
David, & Erin Robertson. (n.d.). In Patrick Cronin (Ed.), High Socks for Hope. Retrieved from http:/ www.highsocksforhope.com/
Derek Jeter. (2011, August 29). Retrieved from Http:/ / en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Derek Jeter
Eskin, Jim. (1996, May). Money the Root of Sports Problems. San Francisco Chronicle.

Gary R. Kirby &Jeffery R. Goodpaster (2007). Thinking, Fourth Edition
How to Become a Professional Athlete. (n.d.). Retrieved from Http:www.ehow.com/ how 2063594 become-professional-athlete. h
Pujols family foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http:/ / pujolsfamilyfoundation.org/ about/
The Official Site of Major League Baseball. (n.d.). Retrieved from mlb.mbl.com

The Posada Foundation. (2011). Retrieved from http:/ / www.looktothestars.org/ charity/ 261-jorge-posada-foundation

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