Professional athlete pay scale

In Opinion

By Cesar Gonzalez

Daily Titan Staff Writer

I believe that professional athletes, whether they play in the NBA, MLB, NFL or any other professional league, are being drastically overpaid.

We see athletes being paid millions of dollars to either throw a football, score a goal, hit a home run or score a basket. Beyond entertainment, what importance are they to society?

Let me first start off by saying that I think the most overpaid athletes come from Major League Baseball.

According to, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter earns a yearly salary of $21.6 million. The article states that the average salary in 2009 for a starting shortstop in the American League is $2.7 million. He is clearly the most overpaid shortstop in the MLB.

There are other players who are being overpaid, such as New York Mets Outfielder Carlos Beltran who played with the Kansas City Royals and had a brief stay with the Houston Astros before signing his seven-year $119 million contract with the Mets.

These players are signed to multi-million dollar deals to perform at the top of their ability and, of course, entertain the fans.

In the NFL, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning signed a six-year $97 million extension. After signing the deal he told reporters that his job is to play quarterback for the Giants and that his responsibilities have not changed. Getting paid that much money clearly states that he has to be one of the best quarterbacks around to get such a big extension and he has to live up to his contract.

In the NBA, the players who are paid the most tend to be either power forwards or centers, and they are signed to long term deals because their teams see them as the central piece around which they can form a championship team.

An example of this would be Utah Jazz power forward Andrei Kirelenko, he had a great 2003-2004 season so the team rewarded him with a six-year $86 million deal. Since that year he has not been worth the money because of injuries and not being able to put up the big numbers that were expected of him.

Some good players in the NBA are paid a lot of money to play with bad teams just because they can afford them, and because these teams need to do what they can to keep fans coming to the games despite the low possibility of victory.

The NBA, MLB and NHL all have salary caps, but most teams go over their spending limit to have the best players in the league and to have a team that will entertain the fans in the stands. The bottom line is that teams making money from ticket and merchandise sales, and then using that to pay large sums of money to a few players that can make it happen is seems to be all it takes to make a team popular. It’s unfortunate that it comes down to the loyal fans, but if they have don’t have a problem paying for it then who is really to blame?

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4 commentsOn Professional athlete pay scale

  • MLB does not have a salary cap, the NFL does though. It is supply and demand. They pay the players a percentage of total revenue, which the players produce. The leagues with a salary cap have formulas that determine minimum and maximum team salaries. The owners can spend it how they want to and if you don’t like it, don’t watch the games and don’t buy the merchandise. All industries work the same and the player’s unions try to get the players the most they can since they are the labor force. It’s called capitalism and it works.

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    A truly helpful website, thanks!

  • Lynnea Urania Stuart

    Athlete salaries are fueled by the same supply and demand as everything else. Why is there such a demand for people of games? It’s a salary that’s fit for a god.

    What kind of god? One who could be called a hero. We love our sports heroes.

    But we don’t find such pay for firefighters. We don’t find them for people who have acted remarkably to genuinely save lives as paramedics or pilots who bring a wounded plane down safely.

    And even if we offered the REAL heroes so much money, they wouldn’t take it anyhow.

    So if they are really the heroes to us that we think they are, it would only make sense to pay what a hero would accept. And let the extra money go to the advancement of the common good. I can think of many worthy projects that could be the beneficiary. So can you.

    Unfortunately, the big-money athletic franchises don’t work that way.

  • i think a salary cap is for over payed sports i like and play sports and all but

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