Are Male Professional Athletes Overpaid?
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
100273605, Sociology 1125, Claudio Vidal, June 30, 2014 Numerous male professional athletes are being paid more than many occupations present today. Many believe it is due to the fact that it is based upon their immense talent that allows spectators to appreciate it. Sports media has recently become such a male-dominated industry that the audience for women’s sports is rapidly shrinking. Professional athletes fall into the categories of entertainers and performers. Because people love to watch them play their sport so much, they tend to pay large amounts of money to do so. In fact, many male professional athletes today, get paid more than many occupations that require years of schooling. The main question to address is why do professional male athletes get paid more than other occupations? Many basketball and football athletes are paid more than police officers that require years of schooling. “Economics is one of the key factors” (Sommers, 1993, p.4) to understanding why these athletes receive such magnificent paycheck but it fails to explain whether they deserve it. Giving these athletes such high wages tends to distort them and brings demise to the economy. In reality, an athlete that plays twenty minutes in a game makes more money than a university professor will in a whole year although the professor went through years of schooling. To many people, it is unfair to base ones salary on purely talent and for others on their ability to do well in school. Those going through years of schooling deserve more money than the ones who merely get it handed to them based on their talent.
The average earning of professional male athletes is “$24.3 million dollars” (Macleans. 2013, p. 1). Although these athletes are talented, it doesn’t justify getting paid millions of dollars purely based on talent. In today’s day and age, it is mind-blowing to think that doctors don’t get paid nearly half as much as many professional athletes. Doctors save peoples lives but still don’t earn as much as sportspersons which is a very shocking statistic. To become a doctor, it first requires years of schooling to educate one so they have the essential skills to help people in need. Furthermore, their job is to help people who are sick and requiring medical attention, which is why they should be receiving higher wages than people who solely entertain. Many athletes may complain that they deserve the amount of money they obtain, but maybe they deserve it at a more modest amount in comparison to other occupations? For some athletes, a cut of their salary goes towards helping out charities, for others, they keep the whole stash for themselves. But it is not only the athletes that are at blame. We the spectators that pay hundreds of dollars to watch athletes have fun is what’s keeping this industry going. If we took the money we spent on these high profile games and invested into charities to help people there would be a lot less capitalism. Every cent we spend on mindless entertainment can be better spent on altruism.
As we examine many professions and their average earnings in one year, we can conclude that in whole, these occupations don’t make “nearly as much as twenty million dollars” (Sommers, 1993, p.2). Even surgeons who treat diseases and save lives everyday don’t even amount virtually to that number. Physicians and surgeons are first required to obtain their masters degree and possibly furthering to complete their Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. Typically four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school and three to eight years of internship or residency. On top of all that, there are expected to work long irregular hours many even up to fifty hours a week. On the other hand, a basketball player for example works “on average 18-22 hours a week” (Sommers, 1993, p.3).