“Athletes are so greedy. I’d play the game for free.”
This statement reeks of envy. A little bit of myopia as well.
Professional athletes do a lot more than just play sports. They give interviews, attend public relations events, and have to be present for countless other non-athletic activities. They are on the road away from home for weeks at a time. They spend hours running, lifting weights and eating clean to stay in phenomenal shape. Athletes risk severe injury every time they set foot on the court or field.
Athletes are the driving force behind an industry that generates billions of dollars.
Sports team owners, television networks, the media and local businesses (bars, restaurants etc.) count on professional athletes and their talents for much of their livelihood. A lot of people benefit from the hard work of those athletes.
I say this to Mr. or Ms. Uninformed Sports Fan:
Are you telling me you would be willing to go through the rigors of a sports season without any financial compensation? It wouldn’t bother you in the least to know that you were generating billions of dollars without seeing a nickel of that money?
Take some time and think about that one.
“Athletes shouldn’t complain when they get traded without prior consent. They get paid millions. Shut up and deal with it.”
Yes, professional sports is a business. Being traded or cut is part of the territory, I get that.
However, we can’t forget that athletes are people too.
They have spouses, children and friends. They have lives off of the court. Would you be happy if you were forced to move to a new city without any warning? Remember, many of these players don’t get to choose their next city of residence when they are traded.
Consider this analogy:
Let’s say you are some sort of specialty engineer living in sunny Los Angeles, California. The work is time consuming but pays orders of magnitude more than any other position and comes with other intangible perks not found in any other branch of engineering.
Your position is one of only 500 engineering jobs of its kind in the entire world. It is a position that is nearly impossible land and there are millions of people who would kill to be in your shoes.
One day out of the blue, your boss comes up to you and says that you will now have to ply your trade in Lincoln, Nebraska.
You are crushed.
You hate the state of Nebraska and can’t stand living in cold weather cities.
When you landed the job, you thought you would be in LA for a long time. You love living in LA and your wife and kids have friends and family in the area. It is your dream city.
You have no say in the matter. You either move to Nebraska or lose your prestigious, better-never-let-it-go position as a specialty engineer.
You have twenty four hours to prepare for the move to Nebraska.
Now, you have to worry about uprooting your entire family to a new state. What about the kids and their schooling? And your wife. How will she handle the news? She has her own professional and social commitments to worry about. Not to mention the effect on the businesses and local organizations you might be attached to in Los Angeles.
Still think that athletes have no cause for sadness when they get traded?
Think about how upset you would be if you had to uproot your entire life to another location against your will.
No matter how much money you earn, there are some things in life that one just can’t put a price on.