It shall discuss this issue using evaluations published by experts on the topic; a thorough assessment of professional athletes’ salaries shall be made based on accepted standards in the field of economics and sports.
Professional athletes are reportedly paid millions of dollars annually. Salaries of professional athletes from the NBA, MLB, NHL, and the NFL seem to increase per year and for each athlete. The latest figures from the 2007-2008 sports season reveal that Alex Rodriguez was paid $28 million; Jason Giambi, $24 million; Shaquille O’Neal, $21 million; Kevin Garnett, $23.8 million; Julius Peppers, $14.1 million; Carson Palmer, $13.5 million; Scott Gomez, $10 million; and Daniel Briere, $10 million (Gilmartin “Articles”). Based on 2002 statistics, basketball players have an annual salary of $2.2 million, with 220,000 as minimum starting salary; baseball players register an annual salary of $1.37 million with $109,000 as minimum starting salary; hockey players have an annual salary of $892,000 and 125,000 as minimum starting salary; and finally football players register an annual salary of $795,000 and 131,000 starting salary (Strategic Reading, p. 26). The figures above seem to be lopsided when they are compared or set side by side with annual salaries of teachers, police officers, fire fighters, or even doctors. Many critics weigh in on this issue as they evaluate the factors which contribute to such high salaries and whether or not such salaries are deserved.
An article which dates back as far back as in the 1990s attempted to evaluate the issue by weighing in both sides of the argument. On one hand, it contends that professional athletes are worth their high salaries because sports consumerism drives or dictates the terms of this market. This article cites Larry Lundy, a sports marketing director at Walt Disney who contends that there is only a limited number of superstar