Today's athletes do not deserve the high price tags that come with signing them to play for professional sports today. Their high incomes increase the cost of sales, the cost of products that bear their name, the cost of products that they help advertise; and they create false hope in young sports fans, and distract the attention of young adolescents who dream of one day being a big income earning athlete - an unrealistic goal.
In a Duke Law Journal article by researcher Sarah E. Gohl, the author writes about the unrealistic dreams of youngsters who have become less focused on the competition of sport, and more on the amenities associated with high incomes. She writes:
young boy sits in English class, staring out the window at the empty basketball court on the playground. He wonders why he has to learn that "ball" is a noun and that "round" is an adjective. He daydreams about the day when he is no longer forced to sit in class, the day when he is a college basketball player who calls his own shots and does not have to study because he is "going pro" someday. Why would he need to go to school when he will be making millions of dollars and having thousands of fans scream for him at every game?
Next to the young boy sits a young girl. She, too, is gazing out of the window at the empty basketball court on the playground. She also dreams of being a college basketball player who is "going pro" someday. She does not wonder why she has to learn that "ball" is a noun and that "round" is an adjective, because she understands that her basketball skills will only take her to a certain level in her life. An education will enable her to go beyond the limits of the basketball court.
Years later, these two childhood classmates both attend college on basketball scholarships. They are student-athletes and are quite successful athletically, but they both find it difficult to balance the demands of athletics and academics. They discover that there are times when they feel like they are back in that English class, trying to determine which words are nouns and which are adjectives. The lesson is not as easy as "round ball" because the words they are examining are "student" and "athlete," which are hyphenated to make "student-athlete." Or is it "athlete-student?" Which is the noun and which one is the adjective? Are they both nouns? Are they both adjectives? Is the term "student-athlete" an oxymoron? (Ghol, 2001, p. 1123)."
Society should pay close attention to what is going on in sports today. The high price tag of major athletes are but a smoke screen for a much deeper and darker malaise that is taking place in the industry today. The high price tags convey the sense that so long as the industry is making a lot of money (MLB reports professional baseball netted 52 billion dollars in 2006), then all is well. Things are, in fact, far from well, and professional athlete salaries are overpaid, and, today, the athletes themselves are overrated.
Crowe, Cameron (dir), Jerry Maguire (Motion Picture) (2006), Sony Pictures Entertainment/Tristar Picture, USA.
Gohl, Sarah E. "A Lesson in English and Gender: Title IX and the Male Student-Athlete." Duke Law Journal 50.4 (2001): 1123. Questia. 28 Jan. 2008 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5000989849.
Payton, Walter, Football Hall of Fame, found online at profootballhallof.com/hof/member.jsp?playher_id=174, retrieved 28 January 2008.
THE OLYMPICS 2004: DRUGS ACROPOLIS NOW! 2004 Is Year of the Dope Cheats." Sunday Mirror (London, England): 83. Questia. 28 Jan. 2008 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5006675195.
Pro-Football Hall of Fame: Payton, Walter (1954-1999) played for the Chicago Bears football franchise his entire pro-football career. A Football Hall of Famer, Payton was a 1st round draft choice in 1975, who played with the Bears from 1975-1987, scoring 110 touch downs rushing, 492 receptions for 4,538 yards; 21,803 combined net yards, 125 touchdowns; all pro-seven times. Found online at profootballhallof.com/hof/member.jsp?playher_id=174, retrieved 28 January 2008.