Dollars And Sense Essay, Research Paper
One of the biggest problems I have with our society today is in sports. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports. I love to watch the competition and seeing these men doing seemingly superhuman feats. The problem I have with sports is the over-commercialization and over-hyping of athletes by their agents, and themselves.
I think that it is absolutely sick how so many athletes are getting paid so much for what they do. I did say that they performed difficult athletic feats, but a couple of events a week for up to 10 years does not constitute that they deserve five hundred times more than what the average blue collar person earns. Of course, the blue-collar man is not on TV and doesn’t get the big shoe deals. The worst part of it all is that the athletes are complaining that they do not get paid enough.
Scott Boras, Alex Rodriguez’s agent, is asking for an escalator clause in A-Rod’s new contract. That means that if the average salary of the MLB raises, so does Rodriguez’s. That is on top of the $20 million he is demanding. If Kevin Brown wants $105 million for seven years we give it to him, and we throw away our Rangers, Marlins, and Padres jerseys.
In baseball, and in all other team sports, free agency has ruined team loyalties. We are no longer rooting for our favorite team with a core of players recognizable in the community. We are now rooting for an aura that surrounds the team. We are rooting for the stadium and the uniforms if we remain loyal to any team. Manny Ramirez was once very loyal to the Indians. He resigned with them the first time he was up for free agency, and he said he wanted to stay with them. That was, until John Hart turned down his request for a 10 year, $200 million contract. The same happened with Mike Mussina. He spent many years with the Orioles without a complaint. However, he jumped ship as soon as Steinbrenner pulled out his checkbook. Why stay in Baltimore if you could make $88.5 million over 6 years for the Yankees?
The pay just keeps rising and rising. Back in 1930 Babe Ruth was the highest paid baseball player ever at $80,000 for that year. In 1951 Joe DiMaggio was the highest paid player ever at $100,000. Then 25 years later Koufax and Drysdale put an end to the old way of doing things by having an agent negotiate a $1,000,000 deal to be split between the two of them. In the 80s Ryan got a million for himself. Then, within a five year span we had the first $50 million contract in baseball, the first $100 million cantract and several players racing for the first $200 million contract, and it is not going to stop when it gets there. It will keep rising and rising until a team’s payroll will be over the amount of the Gross National Product of every country except the united stated combined. Its not just baseball either. Manchester United, the top team in the English Premier soccer league, has a payroll nearing $1 billion. That is the most of any team, anywhere, ever.
Even with the amount of money the players are making for a salary, it is not enough for them. Players keep getting more sponsors and endorsment deals. Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players ever, has his own clothing line under Nike, and he said that the NBA could not use his image for their ads, only Nike could. Tiger Woods is also a very good athlete. He is fighting with the PGA over whether or not they could use his image for promotions. He also wants TV money from the tour. During this summer he got into a bug dispute with Titleist, one of his biggest sponsors, because he started using a Nike Ball. Rumors also circled around that Eldrick, who reportedly, made a $105 million contract with Nike for using their ball and other apparel. Alex Rodriguez is trying to put a stipulation in his contract saying that he could get room in the front office so that he could run his apparel company and other businesses on top of the $200 million and escalator clauses he’s asking for in the contract.
The entire sports world is getting out of control, and no single sport is exempt from this hype and corruption. In tennis, Anna Kournikova is in the top 20 in the world even though she has not won a tournament. The only reason that she is up that high is because many people know her because she is pretty. That is why she gets the endorsement deals.
Boxing, another of the not-so-famous-but-still-corrupt sports, has Don King. Don King has nearly rigged every fight he’s dealt with. There is also the whole Oscar de la Hoya ordeal. When he fought Felix Trinidad he was undefeated, and he was tearing apart all of his opponents, on the night of the fight he had gone the whole match with almost unscathed, while Trinidad’s face was swelling and he was bleeding all over. De la Hoya lost the match in a split decision. The sickest of all the problems in professional sports just happened. The Minnesota Timberwolves were found to have made secrets under the table agreements with forward Joe Smith. That way he could get what he wanted and they could stay under the salary cap.
Even though I am through naming pro sports, it doesn’t end there. Colleges are where a lot of over hyping starts. In college players are also students and have to do work in addition to their athletics. That is not the case at the University of Minnesota. There, the Golden Gophers’ basketball players between 1994 and 1998 one of the tutors of the school write term papers and do homework for the athletes so they could stay eligible. Two Florida State wide receivers Peter Warrick and Lavernaues Coles, both NFL rookies this season, were caught taking extreme discounts on expensive clothes in a Florida store. They paid $40 for clothes worth nearly $300. Both were convicted for theft, but only Coles was suspended for his senior year. As a result of keeping Warrick on the team, the Seminoles went on to win the NCAA National Championship. Every year more and more college players are leaving school early for the big money to play in the pros. Some players even skip college and go straight to the pros like Kobe Bryant did. However, in general, players that stick out their eligibility end up being mature and well-rounded players and people. Look at Peyton Manning, Tim Duncan, and Ricky Williams. All of these players were able to lead their teams at a very early stage in their careers, and none of them had off the field problems.
I just hope that sports can get back to what it once was, people competing against people because they love the game they play. Our players are going soft. Tony Gwynn said that when he was a rookie at spring training, the batting cages were backed up at 6:30 AM. Now people say that he works harder than everybody else because he does something that was once common. In football players are sitting out because they stubbed their pinky toe 6 weeks ago. Back in the good old days, a man that played for the Eagles in the 1960s played center and linebacker in an NFL Championship game. He played all 60 minutes, and still had enough energy to make an interception to put the game away on the final play. Walter Payton ran 275 yards in one game with a severe case of the flu, and in another game he ran for 175 with two sprained ankles. One of the greatest Rams defensive ends in their history, Jack Youngblood, played a game with a broken fibula. Name one current player that would play with a broken leg.
There was a movie that came out in 1998 called “Baseketball” that sums up my wishes for the future. In it people get disgusted with what sports are becoming, and they end up giving up on them. Then, two men come up with a game at a party they crashed, and it ended up sweeping the nation. However, they put bylaws that said players couldn’t change teams, teams couldn’t change cities, and all corporate endorsements were banned. The founders of the league still lived in the same house they created the game in. The athletes were just like everybody else. The character “Squeak” Scolari had the best line. He said “This is a game where men with bad backs and bad knees could compete on the same field as guys juiced up on steroids”. It sort of says anyone could do this, giving the game a strong blue-collar appeal. I just hope that someday we do start over like in the movie.