Are Professional Athletes Overpaid?

Medium

Andrew Dawson, Sports Editor |

If you are someone who believes professional athletes are overpaid, then this is the article for you. While athletes do possess a unique skill set that many of us don’t have, there is no question they are being overpaid to play sports that we all grew up playing as children. You don’t agree? Then let’s look at some of the biggest contracts in sports around the world.

The average annual salary for MLB players in 2021 is 4.17 million dollars. According to ESPN, contract salaries have been down 4.8 percent since the 2019 season though we continue to see record-breaking contracts every single season. The biggest contract in the MLB is held by Mookie Betts, right fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers signed Betts after his MVP season back in 2020, awarding him with a 12-year deal worth 365 million dollars. Betts is on track to make 27 million dollars every season for the next 12 years. Another big contract in the MLB is held by Mike Trout, center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels. Trout is considered one of the best baseball players in the history of the MLB, signing a 10-year deal worth 360 million dollars back in 2019. Since his contract extension, Trout has missed 27 percent of Angels games due to injuries, including missing more than half of the shortened 2020 season.

The NFL continues to increase with popularity every year and has become the most watched sport in the United States of America. The increase in revenue has allowed teams to pay their best players an insane amount of money. A great example is the Kansas City Chiefs signing their star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a 10-year deal worth 503 million dollars. While Mahomes is quickly becoming one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, the Chiefs currently are in last place of their division with a 1-2 record. Should a football player be making half a billion dollars to have a losing record? Especially when his only job is to throw a football 30 times a game?

So, let’s put this into perspective. Some of the highest paid athletes are making more than 30 million dollars a year to play a sport, but healthcare workers who are trying to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic are only making 56 thousand dollars. Not only does the level of importance between these two jobs not compare, neither do their wages.

As a former athlete, I understand the amount of time, effort, and dedication these players put forth not only during their season but in the off-season as well. While playing their sport at the highest level, they are entertaining millions of people across the world. However, they shouldn’t be getting a quarter of a billion-dollar contract for playing a sport that doesn’t even span the entire year. I believe these organizations must create a cap on individual contracts before it’s too late. If this increase in professional athletes’ salaries continues, we will see a billion-dollar contract in our lifetime, while healthcare workers are risking their own lives to save others. Not only are these contracts disproportional, but they’re also not fair.

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