Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From the Archives,pt.1, The Pro-Athlete 2010

The following article is from The Stotan News and was probably written sometime in 1990. Although at first glance it may just look like a satire or take-off on the exorbidant salaries and greed that are a part of the major U.S. sports,running was very much on my mind when I wrote it. Despite appearance fees,prize money and sponsorships that have become more available in recent decades,most runners will never be able to make a living from their sport,let alone become rich from it. There's a belief that has seemed to exist forever within the running world that most participate in it because of a love for running,not a desire to get rich.I've believed that and still hold to that belief. Personally,I think that paying a football player 40 million "up front" and the balance of his 100 million dollar contract over 5 years,as was done recently,is obscene and unwarranted. As I'm sure you all know,contracts like this are commonplace to basketball and baseball, as well as football. To those who say players need to get what they can because of short careers or because the owners are making tons of money I say this,everything needs to be scaled back. One reason,tickets to games are anything but affordable these days for the average Joe. Also,have we not learned that the more money in a sport,the more corrupted it becomes? Doubt this? As one example,look to the spike in drug use of all kinds among the sports where there is alot of money to be made.In retrospect,it's funny how I noted 2010 as the date in the title,I say this because I thought back then that the extremes I mentioned were still going to be years away from becoming a reality,how wrong I was.
The Pro-Athlete 2010--The Shape of Things to Come
The news of Michael "Nike" Morgan signing with the New York Yankees rocked the sporting world as he agreed to the richest contract ever when he signed for $250 million over five years. Morgan,baseball's most prolific hitter,is no stranger to grabbing headlines and creating controversy. Just six months ago he received $29 million from Phil Knight,co-founder and CEO of Nike, for legally changing his middle name to Nike. This time though Michael appears to have outdone himself. What's raising the eyebrows of owners throughout baseball is not the size of the contract but the perks included within it. Some of the perks giving other owners and league officials fits are: 1.) Ownership of a luxury box at Yankee stadium plus 25 dugout level seats for all home games. 2.) Inclusion of his masseuse,bodyguard,trainer,dietician and coach on the Yankee payroll. 3.) Private hotel room and dining facility for all away games. 4.) Input regarding all coaching appointments. 5.) 7% ownership of the team. 6.) Permission to end his season early if the team is mathematically eliminated from play-off contention. The last 3 items have caused league officials most concern. Yankee brass state, "Mike "Nike" Morgan is a person of integrity and we feel privileged to have him as part of our family." They dismiss statistics that point to an 85% drop-off in performance by players who sign rich long-term contracts. Mr. Steinbrenner,owner of the Yankees said: "Mike told me he loves the game and money is not that big of a deal to him." No word yet on the rumoured increase in ticket prices at Yankee Stadium which are already the highest in baseball with cheapest seats going for $75.
To the above I say, ah,the simplicity and beauty of running.

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