As we return from break, the news is offering continuing coverage of two scandals shaking the athletic world: the Lance Armstrong doping revelation and the “catfishing” of Manti Te’o. Does the news give these athletes too much attention for something that a normal person would perhaps be less than kindly received for? This is always the question presented when these kind of scandals break.
Perhaps the true question lies in the interest. Why do we care? These are people, career athletes, who none of us have ever met. Mayhap, it is in the underlying outrage that they are career athletes and, like celebrities, receive more than their due.
This is said because career athletes and celebrities do not provide vital societal necessities and receive more accolades and, to be frank, money, than those that do provide them.
The salary for a teacher in Oklahoma, with 25-plus years of experience and a Bachelor’s degree, is $42,325, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education Pay Schedule.
A military member, those men and women who risk their lives so we can retain the freedoms we enjoy, with two years of service makes a little under $34,000.
Kevin Durant, the face of the Thunder, the team that changed the economic outlook of Oklahoma City, made a little over $16 million in 2012.
One more time: $16 MILLION. It would take that man or woman in the military 470 years, to make what Kevin Durant, made in one.
The argument from the industry paying these athletes is that an athlete is not paid just to play a sport. They are paid based on the revenue they bring into the sports market. Essentially, Durant isn’t paid based on the fact that he can dunk the ball more than the guy on the other team, but BECAUSE he can dunk it more, he brings in more audience, more ticket sales, a larger Nielsen count for the broadcast, more merchandise sold, and so brings in more revenue.
Whilst this does offer a realistic explanation as to why athletes get paid so much, it still stands that athletes are perhaps held to a different standard. Tiger Woods had not one, but dozens of extramarital affairs. Mike Tyson was convicted of rape and served three of a six-year sentence. Brett Favre sent explicit photos to a sideline reporter, the case was dropped, but he was fined $50,000 for not complying with investigators. All of these men are names that would be recognized by anyone, even those who don’t follow sports. And all of these men returned to what they were doing before the scandal, making in the millions for a yearly salary, to fans who had forgiven them and returned in droves to pay astronomical prices to see them perform.
The public needs to take a stand when it comes to choosing where the true societal benefits lie. Teachers, military members, policemen, firefighters, these are people on the front lines of the advancement of society, whether it be protecting it or preparing the next generation to be contributing members of society, these are the people who should be making in the millions, or at least be making enough to support a family comfortably.