The issue regarding high rookie salaries has been a buzz around many of the professional leagues this summer. The NFL and NBA had their drafts recently with veteran players watching the rookies take home some big checks. ESPN NFL analyst Chris Mortensen claims that the managers are the ones complaining yet they are the ones that are to blame. They have the power to write the checks. Mortensen believes that the high salaries are a PR stunt and that the agents have been dominating the market.
“The owners allowed the agents to beat their rear ends,” Mortensen said Wednesday on Mike and Mike In The Morning. Mortensen went to proclaim, “The rookie salary cap issue is a brilliant public relations stunt by the NFL. It’s not like owners will take care of veterans if rookies had a cap. There’s $400M available now for that. Why should rookies like Jake Long and Matt Ryan be punished? Owners are asking to be saved because agents beat them in negotiations.” He is clearly calling out the managers for starting this issue and helping it progress and only now complaining about it.
Chris later talks about how he believes these college players deserve the money they are making in the NFL because they proved their worth by playing and dominating college football. He claims that because football is more physically demanding than basketball and baseball it forces the athletes to go through several years of college in preparation for the NFL. NBA and MLB lottery picks usually do not stay in college for as long as the NFL’s top picks.
Although I see his logic, I believe that all sports are physically challenging in different ways and that the top picks in each sport have worked hard to reach the level they are at. There is always going to be picks that do not pan out the way the teams hoped they would, but that is athletics. If the kid is picked in the top five or ten in the draft and the team spends millions on him, you can bet that same team did their homework and knows everything about the kid, from his jump shot to his first kiss. Or at least I’d hope they know a lot about the athlete they are drafting.
I believe that these athletes, even the one and done college players, deserve every penny that they are signing for. These athletes have trained their entire life for this moment, and with one play can get injured and lose all that they have worked for. The athletes deserve the guaranteed money in their contracts and some (like LeBron, Adrian Peterson and many others) have made a huge impact on their teams and actually deserve the large salaries they have received.
Although we watch these stars on T.V. and it may seem like only a game, this is their life and their jobs. They have to support themselves and their families just like individuals who work in an office or teach at universities. These athletes can only play their sports for so many years (10-15 at the most), unlike someone who can work as a teacher or businessman for 30-40 years, and as we know, these athletes often make poor financial decisions (Gambling With Your Career). There are also many others looking to help these athletes lose their money effectively. According to the Toronto Star, filing for bankruptcy is a tradition for NBA players, as 60% go broke five years after they retire. This shows,that not only do these athletes need the money but also they need to find agents to help manage the millions that they are now earning.
I believe that rookie salaries are extremely high right now especially when compare them to the wages veterans who have played in the league and proved themselves for many years receive. However, do not blame the rookies for having great “ambassadors of quam” to represent them. Blame the managers and people in the front office for not paying you (veterans) higher salaries. These veterans should talk to their agents and put pressure on them and the teams they represent.