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Pro athletes: Are they overpaid?

Mendalla

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This was discussed a bit in the thread on the Raptors run to the NBA championship but a story came up on Twitter that seems like a good starting point to discuss the issue. Jamal Murray, who hails from my birthplace of Kitchener, just signed the largest NBA contract ever for a player from Canada: 5 years with a total value of $170 million dollars. That's well over $30M a year.


And the NBA, while it tends to pay the highest of any of the North American leagues, still falls short of some of the European soccer leagues. Real Madrid in particular are notorious for the amount of money in their payroll.

The NHL has curtailed it a bit with their salary cap, designed to keep the wealthy, big market teams from dominating through the sheer size of their bank accounts, though that has created problems of its own.

Are pro athletes really worth this kind of money? From a purely economic point of view, they have to be. If they weren't, the teams wouldn't be willing to pay it. The argument has also been made that they have a fairly short working life since physically demanding sports are very much a young person's game, so need to make all they can in those few years. But still, even if you average some of these contracts over a normal working life, they make as much money as some business and political leaders who arguably do more, for better or worse, for society in the long haul.

And then there's the pay gap. These huge contracts are almost all going to men. Even a great female athlete like Hayley Wickenheiser or Christine Sinclair makes a fraction of their male counterparts. Only a few women in individual sports, like Serena Williams, have equalled, or come close to equalling, the men in pay. Are men really that much better than women? Or just more marketable?
 
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Men have monopolized pro sports as network TV entertainment that’s why they are paid so much and why they are more marketable...or simply just more marketed. They are way overpaid for what they do. Let’s be serious.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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Yes, clearly they are. Lets pay them comparable to a highly professional- maybe a surgeon, and use the rest of the money to subsidize the seats in all the games so that people can watch live sports for $5 for kids and $10 for adults.
 
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Firefighters...dangerous physical jobs, are paid between roughly $20K-100K in the US. (I know that in some communities they are volunteers.) I don’t even think a pro-athlete’s pay should be as high as a surgeon’s.

 

ChemGal

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Yes, clearly they are. Lets pay them comparable to a highly professional- maybe a surgeon, and use the rest of the money to subsidize the seats in all the games so that people can watch live sports for $5 for kids and $10 for adults.
There is a difference in earning potential though, sport-dependent. Many players have a limited number of years where they can play at such a level. Surgeons often can work much longer.
 

ChemGal

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I don't see women being able to equal the men anytime soon in what they make with sports. While some of the money comes from ticket sales, there's also the merchandise. Women will wear a jersey that looks like it was made for a male athlete, men are much less likely to wear a jersey that looks like it was made for a female athlete. I would hope that the advertising aspect could level out sooner though, but unfortunately I think that's going to be quite some time too.

When it comes to the large contracts, I don't think the athletes their contributions to society are worth the salaries they make. I don't think there should be a law in place or anything like that though to limit it.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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There is a difference in earning potential though, sport-dependent. Many players have a limited number of years where they can play at such a level. Surgeons often can work much longer.
Well, would you expect anybody who works only a few years to be able to retire after that? I don’t. They might have to look into other kind of employment. Thousands of other people have to.
 

revjohn

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Salaries are what the market will bear and the result of private enterprise.

Their salary is not indicative of their societal contribution. It is indicative of their fiscal benefit to a franchise.

Same as for many CEO's right?

Their salary likely wouldn't be such a sore point if we felt they were taxed appropriately.

Some pro athletes take their outrageous sums and actually give back to the communities that support them.

P.K. Subban gave $10 million to a children's hospital out of his own pocket. What collateral benefit did that provide.

There are multiple videos of him being generous to children in general.

Some things you really couldn't put a price on.

And if we truly thought that teachers, firefighters, police officers and doctors deserved more we wouldn't complain when the "sunshine" lists were published or the unions representing them said our taxes should go up to pay what we believed the true value of these helping professions.

Easier to complain though.
 

Seeler

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I totally agree. Pay them what they are worth to the team and tax them on their income (total income from playing. endorsments. appearaances,etc) at the same progressive scale as everybody else.
 

Luce NDs

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Taxes are nails that the powerful governing system will pull out and leave tacks loops!

You can hang your hat onite ...
 
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