It is true that athletes get paid too much money. Some companies give very huge payouts for purposes of endorsements. There is nothing wrong with this. However, when this translates into very huge salaries to athletes, this becomes problematic. In most cases, organizations are forced to do many things in order to raise money for paying these athletes, including increasing the price of tickets and their products.
Byers says that paying too much money to athletes means that it is only the best of them who get to play in the richest clubs, thus increasing their chances of winning in many competitions and scooping all the available trophies (54). This goes against the spirit of competitiveness in sporting. Traditionally, salaries and wages ought to be equivalent to the value of the work that one does. In the case of payment of athletes, things are different.
In a career like teaching, the salaries paid out should be higher than those of athletes since education is the foundation of the world’s future. When teachers are denied a good pay at the expense of athletes, something is terribly wrong with our society. Moreover, when games become money-minting machines for professional athletes, the fun element is lost because people tend to talk more about the value of players’ salaries rather than the quality of their play.
In our country, becoming a professional athlete takes more than effort. One has to go to the right places at the ‘right’ in order to get the available opportunities. This is against the spirit of sporting competitiveness as well. In most cases, athletes who make it to the professional level do so because their talents were nurtured ever since they were very young. If everyone child was given an opportunity to engage in such forms of training, then, many people would agree that the athletes who emerge at the top deserve to be given hefty salaries. Unfortunately, this has never been the case.
Companies may use huge salaries to lure young people out of college and into the world of professional athletes. In some cases, such decisions are never for the good of the young people, but for that of the companies, whose owners’ only interest is to get publicity through endorsements. Once these companies have become very famous, they are less concerned about the future of the young people.
Paying high salaries to team players is not a guarantee that they are going to emerge victorious in all the games that they play. This has been proven to be true in many professional football leagues in many European countries. A football club may spend millions of dollars on world-renowned players only to be defeated by a little-known club made up of poorly paid but highly talented players.
As Meggyesy says, highly-paid athletes are always under pressure to be in their best form in terms of performance (26). Whenever a highly-paid athlete has had a bad day, he gets negative media publicity, something that may lead to a negative performance in subsequent games. In some cases, an athlete may have his career brought to an abrupt end after a media bashing makes him think that the pressure is too much and that the current job is too difficult. Normally, this mainly affects publicity-shy people who have been catapulted into the international limelight overnight.
The billions of dollars that are being spent on athletes could be utilized in a better manner in other industries and government departments. In most cases, top earning athletes find out that they have no any plans to invest the money and they end up giving it away to charities. The charities that these athletes choose may not be following the right channels that can help alleviate suffering among the poor. If the money was set aside for helping the poor in the first place, better channels of utilization of the money would be put in place for purposes of efficiency.