Do professional athletes get paid too much?

Madison Peters, Copyediting Coordinator

Nothing makes an American football fan jump for joy like the month of September. September marks the beginning of the nation’s most beloved sport for college and professional leagues. Baseball fans are just as excited as football fans, hoping that their favorite team wins their division and makes the playoffs. While glued to the television, have you ever wondered just how much these athletes make? The answer is more than it should be. 

As of 2022, the most recent collective bargaining agreement raised the minimum wage to $700,000 for MLB players. But players like Max Scherzer, starting pitcher for the New York Mets, make well over that. Currently, in a contract worth $130 million over three years, the owner of the Mets made Scherzer the highest-paid player in MLB history. 

If you are unfamiliar with professional athletes’ wages, this may seem startling. However, the number is much larger when you turn your attention to football. Quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and two-time reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers, will be the first NFL player to earn more than $50 million per season. On top of that, Rodgers’ $150.6 million guaranteed is the most an NFL player will have ever made thus far. 

Many would love to make that much a year by simply playing a sport they love, but do athletes really deserve the large salary? From my point of view, absolutely not. In a society where salaries and wages are traditionally based on the value of work, professional athletes make far too much. Today, one should be compensated based on both the economic and social significance of their job.

Education is one of the most economically important occupations because education directly affects the future. However, teachers earn less than one-tenth of the average professional athlete. According to Fadeaway World, LeBron James currently makes roughly $542,377 per game. This is far beyond what a teacher will likely ever see working in education. 

Nevertheless, some may argue that while teachers are limited to providing service to one classroom, superstar athletes engage fans globally, enticing them with a sense of excitement. However, even the president’s salary is disproportionately low in comparison to professional athletes. According to Reader’s Digest, the president will take home $400,000, with other benefits that include travel, free housing and expenses. While most presidents work hard every day to keep our country afloat, the unproven rookie in the MLB is earning significantly more. 

Furthermore, police officers, firefighters and doctors are capable of saving a life, while also risking their own, for a fraction of what sports stars make. Armed forces personnel leave their families behind to defend and protect the country, knowing that they may never return, for a fraction of the financial gain. It is truly a pity that none of these true heroes receive the same recognition as athletes like Aaron Rodgers or LeBron James.

 There are those who understand it is not an easy task to make it into the big leagues, and that it takes a tremendous amount of commitment and hard work to earn a job in professional sports. However, these athletes do nothing more than entertain the general public. 

If athletes want to keep making their high wages, it is essential that these athletes prove that they will be positive role models for future athletes and those who admire them. Although these players may have some leeway when it comes to salaries, they need to impact the community more significantly in order to gain respect. It is time for these infamous players to grow up, and show that they can be positive role models on and off the field.