Society has been putting a lot of emphasis on recreation over the last century and in particular, professional sports. The degree to which sports have become a mass market really puts into perspective our changing values and pursuits when it comes to priorities. For instance, the multitudes that grow up and go to school and join the marketplace contribute a great deal to society and provide tangible results that benefit themselves and society collectively.
However, sports players train, practice, and play for a living with no real benefit to society other than to entertain and their influence is purely abstract and not tangible. Since there is a large audience that enjoys watching sports, the sports players are able to become professional athletes and make money off of playing games for a living. The industry has grown so much that professional athletes make an incredible amount of money today – at the minimum, hundreds of thousands of dollars, but usually they make millions of dollars.
Are Their Salaries Justifiable?
It is an interesting argument as to whether or not this is morally justifiable, especially when considering that other professionals, such as doctors and scientists, get paid far less for doing work that is far more beneficial to society. Doctors help the sick, the old, the young, anyone in need of medical care, and scientists work to find cures for cancer, AIDS, and other diseases and viruses that truly help the health and quality of society.
This large discrepancy between professional sports players and professionals working on behalf of the well being of society is concerning, because as previously mentioned, it shows how much our values and priorities have changed. Is this just the free market at work though? If people want to glorify professional sports and professional sports players and pay large amounts of money to see them play and buy their paraphernalia, are they simply driving the market niche up naturally? Other professionals’ work may not be as interesting and exciting as professional sports, but that should not relegate them to a lesser importance and consequent lower pay scale.
Reigning In The Sports Industry
The exorbitant amount of money professional sports players get paid for performing as entertainers compared to the far lower amount professionals that actually benefit society tangibly get paid is not fair morally. When these important professionals have to live within a smaller budget personally through their own income and through government and private grants that pale in comparison to what professional sports players make, it is a sign of just how far we as a society have lost our focus on what is truly important. Professional sports players haven’t done anything wrong, it’s the emphasis that society has put on professional sports that is what’s wrong.
When we pay huge salaries to people whose profession has no real benefit to society so they can live in mansions, buy outrageously expensive cars, and live lifestyles that are overindulgent, we are setting ourselves up for regression as a society. Professional sports players should be paid according to their role in society, and their current average pay is too much for what they actually provide in society. People need to stop putting such an emphasis on the role of sports in society, because sports are definitely not as important as they are currently perceived to be. Only then will the sports industry be in balance with other professionals in society.
Lesley writes for allpro and on her blog about all sports.