“Show me the money.”
To most people, this may be just another ancient Cuba Gooding, Jr. line. But to professional athletes, it’s a real life demand.
There’s no secret that professional athletes make much more than the average person, but it is even more evident when a player signs an outlandish contract and doesn’t produce.
With this in mind, there must be an answer to why underachieving athletes are making so much for so little, and in almost every case it involves an agent.
These agents are not only ruining sports, but also the lives of these athletes. By fighting to ensure a top dollar contract for their clients, agents are setting them up for failure.
It starts with the NFL. It wasn’t until last year that the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed on implementing a rookie salary cap, which would short after become known as the JaMarcus Russell rule.
Russell averaged nearly $5.5 million per win during his three seasons with the Raiders while leaving many critics shocked to see the NFL produce another Ryan Leaf. Looking back on the 2007 draft class, you almost could have chosen anyone but Russell and benefited from the pick up.
However, the NFL isn’t the only organization that this pertains to. The NBA is arguably worse.
Rashard Lewis will make nearly $13 million from the New Orleans Hornets this season. The only problem with this is that he will be playing for the Miami Heat.
While I sit here puzzled, I can’t help but think that something is wrong here. I get that the Hornets bought out the rest of his $118 million contract from Orlando, but why does a struggling team like the Hornets pick up such a ridiculous contract during a rebuilding stage?
If owners would just stop and think, I don’t think we would have these types of deals happening. These players do not live up to the expectations of their owners or the fans.
These athletes are considered to be idols to many, but there is nothing heroic about what they are doing. Compared to the real heroes of this world – such as police officers and firefighters – athletes have no idea what it means to actually earn their pay.
Sure, there are countless hours of training and practicing, but there is no way a player can honestly understand what it means to work hard for little pay after making that much money. The average salary of an officer in the U.S. is about $61,000 a year, while the average salary of an athlete doesn’t drop below $2 million in any of the top four organizations (NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL).
The fact that a player could make $13 million to be an opponent or that a quarterback can make $5.5 million per win is definitely out of bounds.