How do we solve this problem?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Since the attacks on September 11, we hear all the time how things and people in this country are changing - and for the better. Less road raging (not sure about this one, but it could be true), people being more considerate in general, people spending more time with their loved ones, etc.

But probably the biggest claim I hear is that everyone now "gets it." We supposedly know what is important and what is merely show. We know how to put the various facets of our society into a grand scheme. That is, we have this new sense of perspective about our country and our fellow citizens. And in many cases I have to say, even though I can be a pessimist at times, I do see positive changes.

But there is one thing which still seems way WAY out of whack, and which very few people seem to be addressing in a constructive way.

Professional Sports.

More specifically, the outrageous amounts of money most of these guys make, and the accompanying ridiculous behavior on and off the field. Where is our perspective, our renewed sense of "what's important" on this one? Why aren't people taking the owners, athletes and governing bodies to task on this problem? People always complain about the ludicrous amounts of money these guys make and their dispropotionately small contributions to society at large... my question is, should be be demanding more from these guys? I don't know about you guys, but in the wake of September 11, I'm not sure I would feel good about "earning" $20M a year to play sports. Especially given all the attention that has been given to our public servants, and how little they really have been recognized over the years.

I guess I'm letting my own bias get in the way, but to me professional sports (as it stands) is still the one thing that just doesn't fit in a post-attack world. By that I mean the way they go about their business, rather than the existence of the games themselves (which I admit can be both cathartic and enjoyable for many people, myself included).

But once again baseball is on the verge of another lockout, again over the disproportionate distribution of revenues (and by extension ridiculous salary amounts). And again we're seeing a bunch of kids jump from high school to the NBA without a legitimate education, but getting multi-million dollar per year deals anyway. I dunno. The whole thing just seems as fuked up as ever and nobody is crying foul. Nobody is calling these spoiled primdonas to task to make things sensible and right.

Despite all the patriotic ramblings in the weeks after 9-11 by athletes, I still get the sense that money talks, BS walks. How pathetic is that? Shouldn't there be some way of making them put their money where their mouth is?

Maybe have these guys donate $100k to charity for every million they make?


Re-cap all of the professional sports, ensuring that no one gets to make more than say $2M or $3M a year to play games, giving the resultant excess revenues to the neediest schools and public service orgnizations in each respective community (damned if the owners need it)? These are just off the top of my head, but surely there must be some ideas out there worth investigating to bring these salaries back down to earth...that can lower ticket prices so that the average guy can take his wife and kids to a game without breaking their bank...that can redistribute some of this money to worthwhile charities, etc.

My God, even hockey, the most difficult game to master (IMO) and the one requiring to most sacrifice and selflessness on the field of play...even these guys are starting to make 8, 9, even 10 million a year in the case of the top players. That's just wrong. I know we're in a free market economy but given what our teachers, professors, public servants (and a whole slew of others) make -- and considering the difference between what each group brings to their community -- something should be done.

Fans need to vote with their pocket books, but also need to work with their congressmen and women to maybe find their voice in all this. I just think if we have the courage of our convictions after all that's happened, we ought to call these guys to task and see what can come from it.

[ 12-09-2001: Message edited by: Moogs ? ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 21
    all to many sports fans don't think this through... professional sports are run just like any other business. if one doesn't like what a company is doing, don't buy their products. if more people realized this, and actually stoped supporting proffesional sports, then the team owners would be forced to adapt...remember it's the fans that pay the salarys
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Nothing to fix. It's a business. If you don't like it don't buy the product. Why would they have some special obligation that the rest of us don't?

    Live and let live.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    Firemen, EMT and Police should make $2-3 million a year. They save lives over their own atheletes just "save the game".

    Outrageous maybe, but I recall a cartoon where two firemen are discussing some atheletes' million dollar contract strike...while climbing into a burning building...
  • Reply 4 of 21
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    I know it's a business, and as such they're entitled to try and turn a profit, etc. etc. But when you think about it, there aren't even many CEO's or corporate types who make more than say $5M or $6M a year - and though they may fly around first class and sit in lot's of cushy leather chairs while dictating memos to their secretaries...that's still more work (and producing more for society at large) than what athletes do.

    To me, the average athetic salary (and the Owner/CEO salary too) just seems wildly disproportionate relative to what they bring to society at large. There has to be a way to make things a little more equitable. Granted, what it comes down to is that we as patrons may have to force them to rethink their business model (by not paying) but I think the owners and governing officials should take it upon themselves to see how their "business" can contribute more to society.

    Probably too idealist but it just makes me ill sometimes to think about this stuff. A-Rod is a great and talented player, but no way in hell he can be said to "earn" $25M a year (or whatever it is - 25 is close). He just doesn't. Not that he isn't a classy guy, but common...the whole system is just haywire IMO.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    IF the US played more 'Global' sports you would realize this is a 'Global' problem. In th UK we all (mostly) love Football (soccer). Top football players are payed small fortunes, but if there was a imposed limit on the amount they are payed all that would happen is they would just leave UK and go play where they got payed more (Italy, or South America). The overall quality of Football in the Premier (top) league would be reduced.

    The other side of the coin is that a Pro sports player has a relatively short career. At least pro sports players Have a complicated physical skill that involves effort & entertain large numbers of people 'live' at least once a week.

    How about TV celebrates most of that is just 'Reading out loud' and they have a much longer careers.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    True Mediaman. Movie stars I suppose should in principle be held to the same standard as athletes, if not a more stringent one. Pipe-dreams suck....

    <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 7 of 21
    Professional sports teams are private organizations and to impose regulations and laws on how much the top players make is an intrusion of government/authority over free market principles. Also don't forget that athletes have a limited career re. the length of time they can perform in those top-salary positions.

    Having said that, the discrepancy in reward between the top stars and the rank and file player bears little relation to their relative value to their team or organization. It's the same in corporations where the CEO may earn over 1000 times the salary of an entry level worker. But when capitalism runs hand in hand with our obsessive cult of personality and hero worship, then what do you expect?
  • Reply 8 of 21
    trick falltrick fall Posts: 1,271member
    I don't care what ballplayers make or what owners want to spend, but it is absolutely abhorrent to me that we subsudize this by paying for their stadiums.

    In New York right now Ghouliani is trying to push thru new stadium deals for the Yanks and Mets using public even though we have much more pressing needs.

    I also don't understand how anyone can think America's learned anything when we'd rather put teachers in jail than give them a fair contract.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    Yeah. Reality is a bitch, ain't she? <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />

    Sometimes like is unfair. Tough cookies.

    Bad guys win; good guys lose.

    It's the American Way?. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 10 of 21
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Samantha, the "limited time" argument is totally bogus IMO. Not a slam on you, just the argument in general since others have made it as well.

    These guys are making millions *per year*. Meanwhile the rest of us have to work 15 or 20 years to make even a million, if we work OT and save up on a regular basis. I mean, maybe there are some doctors and lawyers and corporate elite who make a couple mil a year, but by and large seven figures is something most of us will never see. Even if their career lasted only 5 years, they still make an exoribtant amount of money.

    There are certainly free market arguments against mandating salary caps or whatever, but the "they make millions because they only work for X years" doesn't fly or make sense at all. Not when the average college graduate has to work ten times as long for just a fraction of what these guys make for a few months work.

    Sorry, but do the math on that one. It's not even close.

    And I agree, no one said life was fair. I just think a lot of these guys are full of crap when they talk about patriotism and having a new respect for civil workers and all the rest. If they really were deeply affected by it, you'd see some huge donations coming in. If for no other reason than, it wouldn't put so much as a dent in their portfolios or net worth (other than for this tax year maybe).

    [ 12-09-2001: Message edited by: Moogs ? ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 21
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    [quote]Originally posted by trick fall:

    <strong>In New York right now Ghouliani is trying to push thru new stadium deals for the Yanks and Mets using public even though we have much more pressing needs.


    I don't have a link or anything, but if I remember correctly from back in '99 or whenver the Mets new stadium was first planned and everything, the Mets were going to be paying a lot of the money, not just the NY tax payers, I don't know about the plans for a new Yankee Stadium. And Gulliani has had this plan way before Sept. 11th and he wants it to get done.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    jeffyboyjeffyboy Posts: 1,055member
    Slightly off-topic but not far: I don't care in the least how much athletes make, but I wish they'd come up with a way to make them stay with one team more than 3 years!

    Trades and free agency run amok ruin the emotional connection fans have with teams. Sure, your cities name is on the jersey, but it's not the same when the guys playing are a bunch of hired guns looking for that next big contract.

    I think the league should provide some sort of incentives to teams and players for tenure. In basketball especially this would dramaticaly increase the quality of play, as well.

  • Reply 13 of 21
    I find it kind of revolting that people see someone getting ahead and just want to take their money from them. You all need to grow up and not envy other people so much.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    Little off topic but...

    Since the attacks on September 11, we hear all the time how things and people in this country are changing - and for the better.


    Nope. No one in North America is changing for the better. Yes, we are more subtle and complacent, and yes, having a focus of anger has left fewer people just being angry for the hell of it, but at the same time its leaving everyone with this "devotion" for "democrasy" which leaves them unquestioning of what happens in the world around them.

    How many of you trust CNN? Even after they decided that they are going to censor (yes, at the request of the government) the news coming in from Bin Laden (incase it contains hidden messages eh?).

    Or the way now that if your accused of being a terrorist (oh, and if this bill gets passed if you make a virus or give some one info on how to make a virus or hack you a terrorist, which means if your accused of doing any of these...) you can be secretly tried with a judge and lawyers selected by the government, not even a counsel of your peers.

    Not that its any better up here, police can now hold you for 72 hours without charging you or anything, not ot mention the rest of the crap going on...

  • Reply 15 of 21
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    [quote]Originally posted by Scott H.:

    <strong>I find it kind of revolting that people see someone getting ahead and just want to take their money from them. You all need to grow up and not envy other people so much.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    I don't think anyone is saying that at all Scott. What we're talking about is how society or the governing bodies themselves could reign things in a little bit (not to punish the athletes but to benefit their communities mostly). I don't want the freaking money...all I'm saying is, when athletes (and yah movie stars) are making 20 million for a few months work, something is drastically awry. There's a difference between "getting ahead" and demanding more money in a year than a normal person could possibly spend in a lifetime.

    I'm simply advocating some self-restraint on the part of these people, and for the rest of us who pad their already grotesque salary levels by purchasing $80 seats when they should cost $20.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    No I think that's what people are saying. It's just pure green envy. Don't worry about what other people make. If you think someone else should get more than they are now then fight for that. To go to some guy and say "You earn to much. Here's 1/10th of what you were earning. If you don't like it FU". That's just wrong. Out of 9-11 we get "pro sports players earn to much" <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
  • Reply 17 of 21
    sebseb Posts: 676member
    If people don't like how much money the sports teams/players make then they shouldn't support them by purchasing tickets to the games or buying products because they are endorsed by certain players ie. Jordan sneakers, Jeter Yankees shirts etc.

    It's that simple. Difficult, maybe, but simple.

    On another level, the amount of importance (american) society puts on sports is ridiculous. Don't get me wrong I enjoy sports and realize there are many positive aspects ie: teamwork, good character, determination etc. Much of that can be learned in other ways though. Mental excercise is important too. <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    Heck even music (Britney, NSync etc.) gets too much emphasis in my opinion - look how many people aspire to be star on MTV.

    Many people seem to think that the vicarious dream becomes.

    It usually doesn't.

    Rarely comes close.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Scott, it's only wrong if mandated by the federal government or something invasive like that. It would be fine if the owners and players themselves maybe tried their hands at self-restraint and gave a larger portion of their salaries to charity, demanded less money every year (and thus keep the teams together longer , lower ticket prices for the fans, etc).

    I know it will never happen but my whole point in tying 9-11 to this phenomenon is that we as a society (and they as players), it seems, still do not get it. People and players aren't trying to change a fundamentally greed-driven industry into something a little more respectable, given what their "product" is.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    Originally posted by Scott H.:

    I find it kind of revolting that people see someone getting ahead and just want to take their money from them. You all need to grow up and not envy other people so much.


    I don't really care about how much they make, but I sure don't feel like having my tax dollars go to subsidizing those salaries and team revenues.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    beerbeer Posts: 58member

    [Judge appointed by the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources] "Are we to understand that if the public deems it necessary to curtail your profits, you do not recognize its right to do so?"

    [Rearden] "Why, yes, I do. The public may curtail my profits any time it wishes - by refusing to buy my product."

    [Judge] "We were speaking of...other methods."


    The eldest judge leaned forward across the table and his voice become suavely derisive: [...] "You pose as a champion of freedom, but it's only the freedom to make money that you're after."

    [Rearden] "Yes, of course. All I want is the freedom to make money. Do you know what that freedom implies? [...] I work for nothing but my own profit. I earn it."


    Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
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