I’m sick of people bitching about athletes being overpaid. “Wahh wahh why do athletes get paid millions to play a kids’ game when teachers and firefighters do the REAL important jobs wahhhhhhhhhhhh” is what I hear when the topic is brought up, and you probably do too. Every job is paid a market wage, it’s basic economics. While these athletes probably don’t NEED $100 million guaranteed salaries, they ARE being paid commensurate to their value as a worker.
The NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL bring in BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in revenue every year. How do they make so much money? They have the best athletes in the world, and people like watching the best. Take away the top 50 players in the NBA, no more LeBron, Wade, Paul, D. Williams, Dirk, etc. etc. and who would want to watch anymore? Sure there are basketball purists who would but overall viewership would drop drastically.
Conversely, jobs like teachers and firefighters are paid less because there is a much, much bigger pool of capable talent. Professional athletes are roughly (made up statistic) 5% or less of the top 1% of athletes on the planet. Anyone who really has the desire and means to go to school can become a teacher. Now, teaching is an extremely difficult job that requires an unimaginable amount of patience, creativity and hard work, often with long and inconsistent hours. But if most people really really wanted to become a teacher they could. I would love to be a professional athlete, but let’s face it: I lack all requisite qualities. No team would pay me even a teacher’s salary to be on their squad. I also lack the qualities of being an effective teacher – the difference is I could still become one.
Now, if there was a competitive teaching league where the best of the best teachers duked it out to teach kids the most effectively, all on live TV with millions of viewers every week and lucrative corporate sponsorship deals, these teachers would get paid more because their services would be relatively more valuable. If they brought in billions in revenues like sports teams do this would be a different story. But even in this case only the elite teachers would be paid a ton.
And imagine teaching being like Nascar. Every teacher wearing uniforms covered head to toe in Elmer’s Glue, Ticonderoga Pencil, Fiskars Scissors, and Uniball Pens ads. And the coverage that would come along with it: “We’re back to with the Competitive Teaching League on ESPN and Mr. Roberts just got Timmy to read at the 5th grade level!! Quite an achievement, Timmy is the youngest student ever to reach this level. Many fans want his record to have an asterisk however, he did have that Adderall come up in his random drug test two years ago.”
Clearly there would be no appeal to such a league, since there’s nothing extraordinary about Mr. Roberts’ situation. And as stated earlier, only a small percentage of teachers would be making good money. There are far more professional and non-professional athletes who get paid diddly squat to put their bodies on the line than there are ones making the big bucks. Look up articles about lower level UFC and MMA fighters. They get paid jack and most don’t pan out into multi-millionaire household names all while getting repeatedly kicked in the head, punched in the gut, and choked out. What a deal!
So please stop your uninformed whining about how much athletes are paid. They, like all other workers, are paid a market demanded wage through supply and demand. If workers in any profession left their job in mass wages would go up to attract more workers and better talent. Teachers are extremely, extremely important to our (and any) country’s long-term success, and I think they are greatly underfunded and unappreciated. It’s quite sad. But there are many many many more qualified (and unqualified more often it seems) individuals that can teach rather than play pro sports. If you still don’t agree, maybe you should go become a professional athlete.