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A Little Less Bling Bling

February 13, 2006

With the NFC winning the Pro Bowl yesterday, the NFL football season comes to a close — at least the playing does. Now starts the free-agent negotiations to make a bit more money, the upcoming draft where new players will be getting rich, and a few players will be trying to renegotiate their current contracts in an upward direction. Let’s face it, bling bling costs money.

On that note: the total of the NFL salaries runs in the neighborhood of $2,784,000,000, the NBA about $1,470,000,000, MLB comes in at $2,123,000,000, and the NHL hits around $1,304,000,000. That’s a total of $7,681,000,000. That’s over 7.5 billion dollars, in case you don’t want to count the zeros, and that doesn’t include many, many millions in Nike, Reebok, and other endorsement deals. That’s a lot of bling bling.

Ignore the endorsement money — with just the salaries alone every person in Mississippi could have a double-cheeseburger and order of fries from the McDonald’s dollar menu three times a day for the entire year, with a billion and a half left over for cake and ice cream. Or instead, the entire US population could go to Outback Steakhouse one night a year and have prime rib and a couple of beers. Well, maybe not on the same night, as Number One Daughter (who’s a server at an Outback) would complain about being “slammed” — but we could work out the details. Nurses whose last name starts with the letter “T” could go June 25th, plumbers named “Douglas” on August 7th, and so forth.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sports fan, an ESPN Insider, listen to the Dan Patrick radio show, watch PTI, the whole schmear. But every now and then some athlete makes a comment along the lines of Latrell Sprewell saying he needs more than his $14.1 million per year because he’s “got mouths to feed,” and I find myself wondering if we couldn’t better spend this money. Let’s face it, without basketball Sprewell is probably handing out those MickyD burgers the money will buy. You know he’d play basketball for $100K/year instead of not playing pro ball at all; beats $6.50/hour and “you want fries with that?” (yes, we do, it’s part of the deal). I guarantee you, if every major league sport had cut all annual salaries to $100K five years ago, you’d be watching the same players as you are now and Mississippi could be eating three double-cheese burgers daily. And don’t worry about us Mississippians eating all of that junk food; we are already the most obese state in the nation. Heck, it’d probably be an overall improvement in our diet.

There isn’t really a point to this post, other than pointing out how I hear about these salaries, know that the players getting them would play for a tenth — or even a hundredth — of that salary, and wonder how exactly that came about. I don’t blame the athletes for taking the money, but you gotta be curious how folks dumb enough to pay it out became rich enough to pay it out.

From → Ramblings

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