Saturday, August 08, 2015

Worth the Money

There may be nothing stupider on sports talk radio than the "Does Player X deserve his contract?" discussion1. It stems from a place of envy and ignorance, namely, that athletes are overpaid and thus we as fans should be the arbiter of their worthiness. (the "We pay your salary!" cri de cornhole is the worst manifestation of this nonsense. No, sir no matter how many $12 Bud Lights you've purchased at the ballpark, you're not paying A-Rod's salary. Not even a little bit of it.) The unspoken answer is always "No", and the real debate is "can said player do enough to get us to forgive him for making that much money?"

But here's the thing. Regardless of how large that contract is, they earned it by being very, very, very good at a thing that only a few people can do, and that generates insane amounts of revenue. The game is the product, and product produces over $10B a year. Saying that the people directly responsible for generating that revenue shouldn't have it because we're jealous that they get to do something we'd give our pancreas for is petty and annoying.

Look, the money's going into the league regardless. If one player doesn't get it, another one - or the owner - will. It's not like the Carolina Panthers are going to suddenly realize that, gawrsh, they just can't do it without the fans - the ones they pull seven and a half bucks a beer out of directly and ding for public money indirectly - and they're going to give some of that money back to the people who really deserve it: you and me.

Uh-uh. Not happening. Ticket prices are not being lowered. Concession prices are not being lowered. Naming rights cash is not getting shared. So abandon the fantasy and the judgment, realize that without the players there is no game, and cheer them on for making as much money as they can while they can, because they're the ones with skin - and bones and internal organs and brain tissue - in the game.

1With the possible exceptions of "Is Joe Flacco an elite quarterback" and "arguments over baseball hall of fame voting between media members".
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