January 22, 2008
Pro Athletes Do Earn Their Millions
Weep not for Brett Favre and Philip Rivers, whose respective NFL squads, the Packers and Chargers, were bounced from the NFL playoffs over the weekend.
Though Rivers is headed to the operating table and Favre is once again pondering whether to hang up his cleats for good (my prediction: He won't), it's not as if the two men will need to work a second job this offseason just to make ends meet. Favre ($11 million total compensation package) and Rivers ($5 million) were among the NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks this season, according to data provided by Salary.com, which powers Monster's Salary Wizard.
I used to resent the exorbitant salaries that top athletes routinely command. For example, I once would have wailed against the fact that Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young took home just over $13 million (No. 1 among all NFL quarterbacks) in 2007, even though he's played only two seasons and hasn't exactly put up Canton-worthy statistics just yet (21 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and a meager rating of 69.0 through his first 30 games).
But with almost a decade of work experience now under my belt, it no longer bothers me that baseball, basketball, football and, to a lesser extent, hockey players just want the biggest portion of the lucrative pies that owners in today's money-making machines of professional sports leagues are willing to give them. In today's age of multimillion and multibillion dollar TV contracts, state-of-the-art playing facilities and non-stop sales of sports merchandise, you can be sure there's plenty of revenue to go around.
Today, I'm fine with the reality that guys who throw farther, run faster and jump higher than the rest of us can parlay their unique skills into astronomical salaries and a comfortable lifestyle for themselves. After all, if you were in their position, wouldn't you be trying do the same?
And while we're talking NFL, how about a little Super Bowl XLII prognosticating? I see the underdog New York Giants, led by Eli Manning ($6.45 million in compensation in 2007), keeping the score close for a while, but in the end, Tom Brady ($6 million) and the vaunted New England Patriots offense will pull away and win by 10, 31-21. And hey, come to think of it: A Super Bowl title means a bonus check for the winning team, too!
Meanwhile, here are a few Monster resources that can help you in your next salary negotiation -- even if it isn't for six figures a year:
- "Salary Negotiation Know-How"
- "Be Paid What You're Really Worth"
- "The Negotiation Dance"
- Salary & Negotiation Tips message board
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you are so wrong.
Posted by: Kelly | Jan 24, 2008 1:27:03 PM
Kelly, thanks for your comment. Why do you think I'm wrong? Could you elaborate?
Posted by: Bryan Person, Monster Blogger | Jan 24, 2008 1:52:17 PM
I always figured the amount of money athletes generate justifies their contracts. Is it a ridiculous amount of money? Probably. But people (by the millions) are paying a ludicrous amount to see these athletes play. It is what it is...
Posted by: CWS | Jan 26, 2008 12:07:47 AM
Athletes definitely make a lot of money, but a typical pro career lasts an average of five years if you're lucky? Couple that with the fact that a lot of them can hardly walk once they retire due to the continued pounding they put on their bodies throughout their careers, and I'm not sure how many of us Monday morning quarterbacks would be willing to make the same sacrifices for the pay.
Posted by: Shawn | Jan 27, 2008 10:18:25 PM
I'm not sure how many of us would be willing to make the same sacrifices for the pay. As I am tried a lot I not getting any penny from the affiliate or any other media. Why and what is this?
Posted by: unnikrishnanbnair | Jan 30, 2008 9:46:42 AM
Your comments are 100% correct. Take a look at all the former professional athletes who are going through physical ailments that will last the rest of their life and cannot function with a "regular job" due to injuries. I say get the best salary that you can because a professional career is short lived.
Posted by: Keith | Jan 30, 2008 4:31:28 PM
It's simple economics. The number of people in the world who can drill a 3-pointer from 23 feet, hit a 90 MPH slider for a homer, or place a 40-yard pass in the tightest of areas is very limited. I've never had a problem with money athletes make because it only takes one owner that's willing to pay it for an athlete to clame their worth. The majority of careers last much longer than 5 years and the life long injuries are usually limited to football players. I'm sure the price of recurring knee problems is worth it for a financially set lifestyle. Especially when kids and grandkids never have to spend a dime for college and other needs. Can't say the same for those with brain injuries though. But again, they are much more rare than we're led to believe.
Posted by: Jeff | Feb 2, 2008 12:43:12 PM
Athletes "Life" are short! How can A 40 years old man/women still runnings onto the track?
Posted by: 全民好好讲！ | Feb 3, 2008 9:15:21 AM
The problem with professional athletes making horrendous salaries is that somebody has to pay for that. My guess is that it's NOT the team owners. It's every ticket buyer and every buyer of the products advertised because those sellers have to build that advertising into their selling price. Enjoy all those cars and pizzas and beer, cuz you're paying a portion of those gross salaries every time you buy them. If I were in charge of some professional sports league and some guy asked for an obscene multimillion dollar salary from any team in that league, I'd just say, "Nope. That's too much. Go sell siding or drive semi for a while, then come back if you want to negotiate."
Posted by: Terry S. | Feb 4, 2008 9:57:55 PM
As I see it, the fundamental problem is that as they command higher salaries, those salaries are offset by higher and higher ticket prices. What this does is establish (and maintain) a select elite that can afford to buy those tickets, these special folk then turn around and demand (and for some unknown reason get) more money, which in turn causes a raise in the cost of the all the services or goods that their employer profers. round and round. Meanwhile, fewer and fewer people are able to "play" in this elite system.
So the probldem is twofold, firstly economic, and secondly a subsequent civil problem. Paying millions to people who play a game for a living is establishing a new old-world mentality, akin to the noble classes of old Europe and elsewhere in the world. Pehraps you support this notion. I surely don't. My people came here generations ago to escape the inequalities, subjugation and imposed serfdom by the elite. The last thing that that we want to see is a re-emergence of that system here.
Posted by: Andrew | Apr 28, 2008 12:45:44 PM
alright then pro athletes do make alot of money but its well deserved in my opinion the average person couldnt do wat they do for our entertainment and the chinese or japanese guy u have no idea wat u are talking about because the pay is the only thing people really want
Posted by: Dustin | May 19, 2008 9:45:47 AM
To everyone who feels it's undeserved, all i can ask is for you to go do what they do. My guess is you probably have tried, but couldn't just like most people. With the amount of people who participate in sports there is a very small minority who make it pro. Especially to the level of the athletes who get spotlighted for outstanding salaries. They do what they do better than anyone else on the planet. And people pay money in order to watch them because people enjoy to see people with amazing skills. And often times the price of the athlete isn't set by the athlete, it has to do with the buyer of the athlete looking at the stats of the athlete and the ability of that athlete to produce fans which in turn creates more revenue for the owner of the team. The athlete is simply a product in that respect. Only they are human so they must receive compensation for what they do. If the nike brand were alive, you can only imagine it would be paid a really ridiculous salary too. And wait, it is... Phil Knight. The owner and founder of Nike. He does basically the same thing. He creates a product that people want and they purchase it. And in large numbers. In fact he is #22 on the list for richest americans. He is worth over $7 billion. Might i add that no one in the top $25 is a sports player. In fact, of the top 400, none are sports players. However, a lot of them sell a product, or got rich off of investments that made them rich based off of how well the company they invested in did. For example paul allen. So the idea is the same. Just when it comes to sports they are buying and selling people. Just like in a regular product, the BEST of the products sells the best and makes the most money. So live with it.
Posted by: Justin | May 21, 2008 2:55:59 AM
I have always wondered why athletes earn millions playing children's games, when scientists and doctors who are actually changing the world for the better are paid a mere pittance in comparison. It is a sad commentary on society that we have such a skewed view of life. Cancer researchers and surgeons should have the millions, not illiterate sports oafs.
It is true that many athletes only play for a few years. This is more the reason why we need to invest in educating these people rather than letting them skate by college by earning "degrees" in football or basketball. We are doing them a disservice to let them think that they don't need educations. The majority of NFL and NBA players today are ignorami who were given a pass and a college degree on the sole basis of their athletic prowess.
I used to work for a man who was a running back for an NFL team for a number of years before he used his millions to buy into a company. The man could barely read and write, yet he had graduated from a Big 10 university. Is this the lesson we want to teach our children, to focus of sports rather than academics.
Let's return to the day of all-amateur sports, where an athlete needed to earn his money from contributing to society, not degrading it with mindless games.
Posted by: Jonathan | Nov 28, 2008 7:01:48 AM
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