Term Paper: Professional Athletes Do Not Deserve Such High Salaries

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Athlete Salaries: The Price of Gladiator

The early Greeks and Romans gave us the image of the heroic gladiator, a tall, muscular and physically fit man who towers in height above the average man; a man who, in as few as three moves, can break the neck of man and ferocious beast alike. They are the heroes of Virgil and Homer, and they are the men endowed with superhuman powers that mesmerized and entertained thousands during the Olympic Games of old (Garland, Robert, 2005, p. 24). They were the ancient day celebrity (Garland, Robert, 2005, p. 24). They evolved into the modern day athlete; boxers, football players, baseball players, and other athletes who stand as overpaid, overrated, modern day gladiators. Today's "gladiators" are overrated, overpaid athletes who lack the heroic heart of the heroes Achilles or Odysseus, and men who won't acknowledge their fan base without a financial incentive. Today's athletes are takers, giving very little in return for their celebrity, and the industry salaries are not driven by talent as much as they are driven by advertising.

Advertisers seem to have a greater influence on which athletes receive big salaries these days; if the athlete is popular, tall, handsome, fit and a reasonably good player, he can make lucrative deals with advertisers in anything from touting life insurance policies, to big name brand products like athletic gear and shoes. This transfers to the player's sports' club player's contract, and the salaries are ridiculously high.

There are some, of course, who want to put a price on the bodily sacrifice that an athlete makes; arthritis, poorly healed broken bones, concussion that might have an adverse impact on the athlete's life later in life, and so forth. However, when taking that into consideration, then the construction worker who operates a jack-hammer eight hours a day, if we measure his bodily worth on the scale of a professional athlete, is grossly underpaid. As are other laborers throughout the country if we, again, compare the physical risk, let alone injury, to that of a professional athlete.

In the film Jerry Maguire (1996), Tom Cruise's character, Jerry Maguire, a sports agent, is sitting with an athlete when a young boy approaches and asks the athlete to sign his sports card. The athlete looks at the card, and then tells the youngster he cannot sign the card because it is not a particular brand name card - for which, of course, the athlete is contracted to represent, and presumably receives a handsome stipend for doing so. Today's athletes are adjuncts of advertisers, and there is absolutely nothing aside their value as popular sports figures whom by virtue of their popularity - with youngsters whose sports cards they won't sign - represent millions of dollars in advertising and product revenues. Sports is no longer about great Walter Payton talent, but is more about looking good, being popular, playing well - not necessarily great - and having a very, very savvy sports agent to score a big contract for the player.

In light of recent revelations about steroids in sports, especially baseball, even those once held out to be players of profound athletic ability have been revealed to be mere men on performance enhancing drugs. The 2004 Olympics held in Greece have been touted as."..Year of the Dope Cheats (Downes, Steven, 2004, p. 83)." Ekaterina Thanou, women's 100 metres final, was suspected of "doping" during the 2004 games to win the gold medal (Downes, 2004, p. 83). Recent investigations into major league baseball players' use of steroids produced a startling list of players, present and past, who are alleged to have used performance enhancing drugs (MLB.com, 2008, found online at mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=200801238content_id=23543078&veky=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb, retrieved 28 January 2008). Baseball great Roger Clemens is amongst those alleged to have used performance enhancing drugs, and, now retired, Clemens has remained silent on the subject of his alleged steroid use (MLB.com, 2008).

However, the alleged use has caused some concern by lawmakers on Capital Hill, and "Clemens lawyer has said he will appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a February 13 hearing on steroids in baseball (MLB.com, 2008)."

With the sports industry's focus on revenue, and athletes' likewise focus on the same, the competition… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Professional Athletes Do Not Deserve Such High Salaries.  (2008, January 28).  Retrieved August 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/professional-athletes-deserve-high/6698

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