Level the Playing Field

Athletes in the NBA, MLB and NFL are rewarded with a higher average annual salary than any other profession in the United States.  While Cam Newton was paid 41.1 million dollars by the Carolina Panthers in 2016, some government employees including police officers, firefighters and public school teachers struggled to provide for their families.

In an ideal society, employees would earn wages based on the value of their work.

The minimum starting salary for an NFL rookie is 325,000 dollars. The minimum for an MLB rookie is 400,000 dollars and the NBA sets its minimum salary at 457,588 dollars. To put those earnings into perspective, the highest paid non-athletic employee in the United States is an Anesthesiologist, who earns an average annual salary of 258,000 dollars. Also, the President makes 400,000 dollars a year, which is equivalent to a bottom tear rookie in the MLB who has yet to attain a secure spot on the roster.

Over the last twenty years, taxpayers have spent nearly seven billion dollars on NFL stadiums. Those new stadiums are used to garner more ticket sales, concession sales, parking and advertising space in order to enable organizations, such as the Carolina Panthers, to afford to pay Cam Newton 41.1 million dollars a year.

Almost no question arises when the Minnesota Vikings ask the state for 348 million dollars to help build a new stadium. However, police officers continue to earn a mere 48,320 dollars a year. Would it make sense to reallocate the taxpayers money towards struggling teachers, firefighters and police officers and take them away from millionaire players and owners?

Athletes are entertainers. The idea that LeBron James is making enough money in endorsements alone to feed tens of thousands of starving children in the United States is absurd. The average annual income for players in the NFL, MLB and NBA are 1.9 million, 3.2 million and 5.15 million dollars. Doctors, who spend the first eight years of their adult life paying for school, make 1/27 of the average NBA player’s salary.

Arguments for paying professional athletes a large sum of money include the time spent practicing, the risk of injury, and the sacrifice of their privacy. Athletes should be compensated for their hard work and time, but not with such generous numbers. The risk of injury doesn’t compare to the servicemen and servicewomen who sacrifice their lives for the United States. Lastly, Tom Brady might lack privacy, but very few people would knock down a door to see a third-string rookie.

Player pay cuts would provide owners enough money to pay for their own stadiums and reallocate those seven billion dollars in taxpayers’ money to benefit teachers, police officers and firefighters.

Sources: bleachreport.com and huffpost.com

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