Deuce’s Dopey Sports Soapbox: Cash Rules Everything Around Me
A big story in the sports world is that the Lakers just committed to paying Kobe Bryant a significant amount of money for what will likely be the final few years of his career.
And with the way people are talking about it in the sports world, I’ve heard more than one comment like “Why should they get millions of dollars? They play a GAME!”
Few statements can so quickly and thoroughly infuriate me like this one.
Are sports absurd?
Of course they are. Looking at it objectively, professional sports are ridiculous: grown men in goofy, colorful uniforms sacrificing their bodies (and in some sports lives) for the sake of having people with face paint and blocks of foam cheese on their head drink the beer whose logo is plastered all over the stadium and yell at them to give the town some kind of bizarre pride. It’s a world that is unabashedly commercialized, over-the-top, and oftentimes heartless, dismissive, and even cruel to those within it.
But it makes money.
Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (I could keep putting “lots” all Thanksgiving weekend and it wouldn’t be enough) of money.
I mean, sports are absurd in the same way that acting is absurd. Christian Bale got paid tens of millions of dollars to literally pretend to be Batman for a few months.
But it makes money. Lots and lots (okay, okay) of money.
And really, why does it matter? Why shouldn’t athletes and actors and musicians make millions? I promise you they generate a whole lot more than they make.
So, rather than get angry that players make millions of dollars, consider this: how much are the owners and the league making that they can afford to pay Kobe Bryant–who is in his mid-30s and a shadow of his peak form–close to $50 million to ensure that he retires as a Laker? They wouldn’t make the deal if the didn’t think he would generate (a lot) more than $50 million for them over that time.
There aren’t a whole lot of us that get fair value what we generate for our employers. I mean, it’s common capitalist sense to pay your employees less than they earn for you so you can make as much money as possible. The goal isn’t to break even.
But, if you want to complain that athletes make millions of dollars, perhaps you should have a much bigger problem with everyone who makes billions of dollars off of a “silly game.” You should have a problem with studios who make billions off of actors.
And you should consider moving to a cabin in the woods like JD Salinger, because this is the entire foundation of our culture.