Are professional athletes overpaid?

    Two staff members debate their side of the topic

    More stories from Parker Reed

    More stories from Kelsey O'Connor

    Professional athletes are among the wealthiest individuals in the world, but is that justified or not?

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    Professional athletes are among the wealthiest individuals in the world, but is that justified or not?


    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an Army General with over 20 years of service makes approximately $192,864 a year. The 2014 median compensation for a General Surgeon was just under $395,456 a year. The men and women who run straight into fires, risking their lives to save others make only $46,870 per year. So why are professional athletes being paid millions or even billions of dollars each year?

    Sure, athletes are physically pushed to their limits day in and day out. Their performance directly affects the worth of the teams for which they play. These teams are huge organizations worth billions of dollars, but are they worth more than a human life?

    We are paying athletes ridiculous amounts of money to physically perform on national television for public entertainment. Meanwhile, soldiers, firefighters and policemen perform physically to save the lives of others on a daily basis. Shouldn’t these lives be worth more than entertainment?

    Cristiano Ronaldo makes $56 million a year, Kobe Bryant made $250 million a year and Barack Obama made $400,000 a year during his presidency, according to Forbes Magazine. Assuming these salaries reflect the amount of work required for the position, playing soccer or football must be more challenging than running an entire country.

    Let’s take a moment to think about what would happen if all sports teams simply disappeared from our country. While our country might mourn the entertainment loss, all would survive and find alternative methods to entertain themselves. Let’s imagine what would happen if all doctors disappeared from our country. Hundreds of thousands of people would die. There would be nobody to save car crash victims or even to cure the common cold.

    Professional athletes are highly overpaid. Compensation should be based on job importance, not entertainment. If vital, life-saving professions are not rewarded for the stress of their jobs, there may come a day when those jobs are much harder to fill. Pay the individuals who make a difference in the world.


    -Kelsey O’Connor, Staff Writer



    “Athletes are paid millions of dollars to play a game” is a common argument people make for criticizing the annual salary of professional athletes. However, it is completely justified.

    Lebron James of the National Basketball Association (NBA) takes home 30.96 million dollars a season. Tom Brady of the National Football League (NFL) nets a clean 27 million every year and Clayton Kershaw of Major League Baseball (MLB) accumulates 34.57 million each season, according to

    This may seem like a drastic misuse of funds for an athlete who works less than ½ of the year, but behind the scenes a different picture is painted.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that James leads, are worth a cool 1.1 billion dollars. The New England Patriots, the organization Brady heads, is worth an outstanding 2.6 billion dollars. And the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team that ace pitcher Kershaw throws for, is worth 2 billion dollars, according to

    The athletes who make up the rosters for these professional sporting franchises are directly responsible for how much the team is worth and how much everyone else in the organization draws in. If they do poorly, the team attracts less fans and less revenue. If they do well, that yields bigger television contracts, more merchandise sales and an organization that is ultimately worth more.

    The average athlete in these organizations makes about 10-15 percent of what the top athletes I described earlier do, according to the Huffington Post. So it only makes sense that the top athletes make so much. It is structured like a run-of-the-mill business. The top performers earn drastically more than the individuals on the bottom of the totem pole.

    Sports franchises are some of the wealthiest in the world. They take in revenue from a multitude of different platforms and are trendsetters in pop culture. Athletes aren’t overpaid, they are just chess pieces in one of the highest-grossing industries in the world.  


    -Parker Reed, Sports Editor