Do We Pay Athletes Too Much?

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Do professional athletes get paid too much?
In my personal opinion: No
In this modern era this is an ethical issue that comes up more and more often. This has been brought up especially in times of economic hardship and the recession whereby families are really struggling to make ends meet with unemployment, delay of retirement and general reductions in disposable income. During this paper it shall be discussed how the ethical issue of high wages came about, why it is an issue, who is affected and what actions can be taken. Why is there this ethical problem?

To put it simply, it is a matter of personal opinion and knowledge on whether you believe professional athletes in the United States should get paid the level of wages that they do. Below is a chart produced by Canbridge University which gives an introductory represenation of the salaries professional athletes earn annually.

From June 2008 to June 2009, the highest paid professional athlete, Tiger Woods, made $110 million according to Forbes. Also on their list, at number two, was Kobe Bryant making $45 million, and Michael Jordan with the same amount (and Michael Jordan hasn’t played in quite a while!). According to Forbes Magazine, the highest paying “regular” job in the U.S. during 2009 was that of a surgeon. The average annual pay of a surgeon last year was $206,770 (also out of Forbes). While the average pay for classroom teachers in the United States is $38,000 per year. At that rate, a teacher would need a little more than 27 years to make $1 million — less than half what a basketball player makes, on average, in just one year. The average pay for fire-fighters in the United States is around $40,000. The starting salary for police officers in the United States is around $29,000. Do athletes deserve more money than fire-fighters or teachers — people who hold what many consider being more valuable jobs? This is the basis of where this ethical problem comes about. Some people work their entire life trying to make a living to support the families they have and have a very hard time trying to live near the poverty line.  Some of the jobs they have to take to support their families are hard, manual labor jobs that they have to work at for 12 hours at a time.  For example, adults that work in fast food restaurants usually work long days so they can make enough money to support a family, because minimum wage doesn’t go far in today’s world.  Single parents usually work even harder than families that have two incomes helping to support them.  The average professional football player gets paid almost $2 million and they’re not even the highest paid professional sport. Basketball players make the most out of all pro sports with the average salary being $5 million and the only thing they have to do is practice and play in games (FreeMoneyFinance). However it is rarely considered how much tax and good these athletes do in helping our economy. In the banking business it is known as the ‘jock tax’ and when understood, people will not be so judgmental. For federal purposes, professional athletes are taxed in the same manner as other taxpayers: gross income less deductions equals taxable income.  Federal tax is computed without regard to your state of residency (home state), or where the employer/team is located (team state). The current top federal tax rate is 35%, starting at taxable income of $319,101 (2004, single filing status) (ZZLR.com). Now to tax that level for an athlete that earns millions of dollars a year is creating some useful revenue for states and the government that no one can argue with. Another reason why athletes do not get overpaid is the wrong attitude that some people posses. For example people say, “Oh, I would hit a baseball for millions of dollars a year.” Well, I’m sorry you can’t. These athletes are unbelievably blessed with talent.  All of these players have such immense and extraordinary ability that they make the game look effortless. In...
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