Ok, enough controversies. Enough politics and all of that other depressing stuff cluttering up my news feed. Let’s go find a place where we can relax and be entertained.
Sports. No problems here at all, right?
NEWSFLASH: Carmelo Anthony to make $27 million playing one season of basketball (82 games or roughly $340,000 per game) for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA.
Before you go and accuse me of being a closet socialist let me make this statement: I am not against someone getting paid as much as he or she can. If a movie company showed up with a check for $5 million to buy all the movie rights to all of my books, I’d probably have the check deposited in my account before the ink dried.
My issue with this has nothing to do with Anthony as a player or a person. His contract is certainly not the only one in that sky-high neighborhood. But it is the most recent one and is the impetus for this post.
In Oklahoma City, a police officer on patrol averages between $45,000-62,000 per year. So Carmelo Anthony is making in one night – and roughly 30-35 minutes of game-time work – what it takes a full year for six-to-eight police officers to earn. And Anthony doesn’t have to worry about getting shot while he is working. (Although I suspect some teammates and Thunder fans might secretly wish someone would shoot him based on his attitude.)
Fireman in Oklahoma City make between $32,000-$54,000 annually. Ten firemen have to put their lives on the line daily to make in one year combined, what Anthony will make in one night.
Johnny Depp pulled in $20 million to do The Tourist, the same amount Jennifer Lawrence pulled in for her work in Red Sparrow. These films were shot over four months. Assuming they worked every single day of those four months that’s still $5 million a month. Again, assuming they worked seven days a week, they made in one day what the police officer or the fireman takes a year to earn.
So who is more important to society? The sportsballer/actor/entertainer? Or the first responders?
Let me put it this way: If we shut down all of the pro sports leagues tomorrow. If we closed down all of the film production companies and TV networks, what would happen?
For one, we might all get off the couch and actually go and do something. But more importantly, our lives would go on. The sun will rise and set. Nothing dramatically would change. We could easily survive their absence.
Now, take away the police, the firemen, the hospitals, etc. Would we survive that? Not hardly.
So why the hell are we wasting millions, even billions, of dollars on people who do little that actually matters? Why are we cheapskating on the salaries of the people who we really need? Why are we paying them peanuts?
Our priorities in this world are screwed up. And it isn’t just here in the U.S. either. Look at the money thrown into the Olympics, the World Cup and other sports. Most of it is wasted and goes into already deep pockets that have little interest in you or me. Other than our continued willingness to hand them more and more of our money without question, of course.
So the next time you are grousing about how expensive it is to take your family to a game compared to when you were a kid, or griping about how expensive your cable bill is, or you are angry at having to drop a $100 at the theater for four tickets and snacks, I have just one thing to say:
Because it is your sheep-like complicity in throwing these obscene amounts of money at them that is the reason for high sports and movie ticket costs and high cable prices.
We need to collectively re-examine our priorities as a society. Hitting a ball with a stick, tossing it into a cylinder or throwing it 50 yards shouldn’t rank too high on the list of things that really matter.
Protecting law-abiding citizens from criminals, fires and other catastrophes deserve a lot more money, and more importantly, a lot more respect from each and every one of us.