Imagine a job where you can play and get paid millions of dollars! Does this job really exist? To the few privileged athletes in the world of professional sports it does.
Everybody knows that the salaries in professional sports are outrageous. Does every good athlete think they're really worth that much money? I know this is professional sports, but let's face it, it is still just a game. For some athletes, these salaries go right to their heads, and they become conceited. The athletes forget that if it weren't for the fans, they wouldn't have a job. Athletes want as much as they can get so they usually sign with the team that offers the highest contract.
In the professional sports business, the athlete is always represented by an agent who negotiates the contract. The athlete stops being a person and becomes a dollar figure. Owners and general managers of sport teams are also at fault. They sign the check to give these ridiculous sums of money.
The sports agent goes to work every day wearing his Armani suit, RayBan sunglasses and carrying his leather briefcase. He is a cross between a blood-sucking lawyer and a commission-propelled salesman who sells his client to the highest bidder.
Ultimately, the athlete does have to agree and sign the contract to play for a specific team for a specific sum of money. But, it is the agent who does all the negotiating. The more he gets for the athlete, the more money he gets for himself.
However, the agent's job doesn't end at getting the best contract for the client, it also involves getting endorsements, which is the frosting on the cake.
Many of today's top-paid athletes have exclusive contracts. Some act in commercials, although they're not actors. Others endorse name-brand products, yet they're not businessmen. The only thing they have going for them is their fame as a good, or great athlete. Not only are they getting an outrageous salary to play sports, they are also getting a huge kickback for the products or services they represent.
The sport agent goes all out just to popularize their client as an athlete, a role model, and a good citizen. When an athlete is in the limelight, he or she has a responsibility to act and behave in a reputable manner. Children aspire to be just like these athletes. For the most part, the agent makes sure that the athlete stays out of trouble. At times, it must be like babysitting a primadonna. If some type of calamity happens, the agent has to make sure that the media doesn't bad-mouth their client. It is important for the athlete to maintain their pure image so more companies will want them to advertise, therefore, increasing the agent's profit margin. The agent sells his client as a good guy and sets him up with appearances in schools and in his community, but it is all for the money.
The athletes probably love making all this money and getting the attention, but do they really need all that money? The athletes want to make enough money so that when they retire, they can live off their earnings, but this is getting out of hand. Athletes' contracts just keep getting higher and higher.
Sports agents have spoiled the excitement of professional sports. No athlete is worth tens of millions of dollars. After all, they are just playing a game they love, and getting paid for it. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.