If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say ‘professional athletes are overpaid,’ I would be a millionaire.
Although it’s tough to find the logic in making millions of dollars from chasing rubber pucks down the ice or pigskin down a field, it is simply the capitalist world we live in. There is a clear-cut demand for watching the top athletes in the world at their sport of choice; therefore, organizations have raised ticket and merchandise prices to pump as much coin into their bank accounts as they can. It is nothing personal from the owners’ standpoint, simply business.
That being said, how can you have a problem with professional athletes’ salaries if you are pro-capitalism? Their income aligns perfectly with our county’s economic system.
You could argue it doesn’t because the Phoenix Coyotes have reportedly lost over $100 million over the last three years. But if you were to mesh the Coyotes and other organizations’ losses with the earnings of rich teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers, the league is still in the black after all the expenses are paid, including the players’ salaries.
For the most part, actors make more than professional athletes do. Yet I don’t hear many people complaining about Charlie Sheen making $100 million for 90 episodes of Anger Management.
Sheen is in the same industry as professional athletes – the entertainment industry. So why aren’t people complaining about Sheen’s salary when they see a poor episode of Anger Management?
At least people’s ignorance on capitalism would be consistent if they complained about actors and music artists’ salaries, too.
Fans can only blame themselves for the players’ high-end incomes. After all, do you think the owners can afford to pay their players millions because of their money trees? They get a portion of their coin from the working man/woman that pays $500 for a Leafs’ rink-side ticket and/or $140 for a jersey.
If you want to see players’ salaries go down, don’t buy that jersey or that ticket. If the demand goes down, the players’ salaries will follow.
But we both know that won’t happen because Canadians’ hunger to watch the top athletes in the world won’t die.
A long way to the top
It is not as if you can just take a four-year university course to become a professional athlete. It takes a boatload of God-given talent and extreme work ethic to make any money as an athlete.
To put the competition into perspective in hockey – stats have been released that show roughly three-percent of the players in the Canadian Hockey League go on to make a career, which is considered three and a half years in the league, out of the NHL. To add to the slim hope of making it in The Show, stats also show roughly one in every 10,000 kids that signs up for minor hockey goes on to play major junior puck. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out winning the lottery seems more plausible than getting to the NHL.
I have read in several credible publications that the football and baseball stats are even more staggering for the National Football League and Major League Baseball.
Young athletes that make it to The Show make countless sacrifices to get there such as moving away from home at a young age, hitting the gym every weekend instead of parties, and cutting out unhealthy foods in their diet.
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby moved away from his home province of Nova Scotia to Minnesota in the States at the age of 15 to help him get to where he is today.
Edmonton Oilers 2012 first-overall draft pick Nail Yakupov moved from Russia to Sarnia, Ont., at the age of 16.
It is easier said than done to move thousands of miles away from mom and dad before you can even drive a car. Several players, such as Dallas Stars prospect Radek Faksa when he moved from the Czech Republic to Ontario at 16, have shared that they cried themselves to sleep every night the first week or so.
Therefore, it’s ridiculous to say someone made it to the big leagues because they had “luck” on their side. They may have a had a little luck along the way, but hard work, determination, and countless sacrifices paved their way to the pros.