Interestingly, according to Forbes, Aaron Rodgers received the highest salary/winnings of any athlete in 2012 but he did not receive the largest income as an athlete during the year (he actually ranked 7th overall). The number 1 spot went to Tiger Woods who earned a minuscule $13.1 million in salary/winnings actually playing golf but Woods made $65 million in endorsements where as Rodgers only received $6 million in endorsements. Even with all of that income welterweight Floyd Mayweather is set to knock Tiger out of the #1 spot by September of this year as he will earn between $90 and $128 million in salary/winnings alone for just two bouts.
But, according to Forbes, even the average athlete is making a paltry sum compared to celebrities and entertainers. Oprah raked in the most in 2012 at $165 million for the year while Robert Downey Jr. was the highest paid actor of 2012-2013 with $75 million and Dr. Dre, as the highest paid musician, made $110 million including all of his many ventures. Forbes also indicates that Bill Gates is still the richest man in America with a net worth of some $66 billion while Carlos Slim Helu (and family of América Móvil in Mexico) is the wealthiest man in the world with a net worth of $73 billion.
Compare the above figures to those of the Bureau of Labor Statistics which reports that Anesthesiology was the highest paying US career in 2012 with the average salary being $232,830; various other types of medical careers (all physicians) were ranked 2-9 as far as highest incomes in the US for the same year while CEOs rounded out the top 10 highest paid careers with an average salary of $176,84o (really). Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 the average Lawyer's salary was $130,490; Financial Managers earned an average $120,450; while Airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers made $118,070 on average; with Air traffic controllers earning $114,460 and Pharmacist making $112,160.
Lippencott Williams and Wilkins reported the following average salaries for nurses: LPNs, $36,700; RNs with an associate degree, $50,100; RNs with a BSN, $55,300; RNs with an MSN, $60,500. Nurse Managers reported an average salary of $62,800 while Advanced Practice Nurses reported an average annual salary of $69,600. Compare that to the National Education Association's (the largest teacher's union), estimated starting salaries for teachers: educators with bachelor's degree are reported to earn $35,139 on average, while those with a master's degree earn as much as $64,883. Of course, both nurses and teacher's salaries vary widely depending on such variables as location, cost of living, the specific establishment each are employed by, whether the individual is part of a union, etc.
So what's my beef? I suppose part of what irks me is that people complain they don't have enough time to do much of anything but work yet they spend inordinate amounts of time watching other people play games, then they complain they haven't enough money to make ends meet but they will spend, spend, spend on all things sports related. Then you have the fact that a large majority of parents will encourage their kids towards sports so that they can get a scholarship all in the hopes they can make it pro in order to get that money, usually at the expense of other things namely: faith teaching, family time and academics. And across the athletic spectrum, from the youngest right up to the pros, athletes are given preferential treatment even to the point of excusing away very bad behavior in school, in society and even on the field; and still these folks are often held up as role models, those whom our children should emulate. There is also the fact that kids are encouraged to play harder and longer at younger and younger ages doing untold damage to their developing bodies. Most serious student athletes I know have, by the time they are in high school, had at least one surgery to repair a sports related injury. So when athletes make these exorbitant salaries, over and beyond some of the brightest minds and most hard working people in our society (thus perpetuating all of the the above,) I find it (at least) a tad bit inane and a wee bit disgusting. You can tag the actors, entertainers, and celebrities on here but that takes us off on a bit of a tangent that would probably best be left for another time.
And yet there is a glimmer of hope. In light of the fact that I began writing this diatribe on Friday, I was pleasantly surprised during last night's game between the Texans and the Saints when, during an interview regarding his generosity towards several fire fighters and their families (after a recent tragedy that took the lives of several Houston fire fighters while they were serving in the line of duty), J.J. Watt said (I'm paraphrasing), that he just plays a game... these people are the ones who deserve accolades and credit. For all of my griping above, it seems that there are some folks that have not lost perspective; this 24 year old millionaire with his own Charitable foundation, who appears to be using his money and prestige to help others (often under the radar) - a guy raised by working class parents, a guy that that courted by a college team or wooed by the NFL execs, a guy that worked hard to get where he is seems to understand that it is all about the perspective.
1 Timothy 6:10