The Harbinger Online

Love of the Business

I don’t remember a lot of my childhood.

With great thanks to three concussions, and multiple hits to the noggin during various activities, I can’t extract much.

The earliest memory that I can recall is sitting in the nose-bleed section of a Chiefs versus Jaguars game and thinking how phenomenal the entire thing was.

Here were 22 grown men, duking it out on a 100 yard battlefield and laying their bodies on the line, all for an undying passion for sport; or so I thought. Since that experience, the mantra of professional sports in my mind has been all about the winning, all about being the best in the league for bragging rights and giving everything you’ve got for a simple win.

But I’ve witnessed events in the past six months that have contradicted my childhood vision of professional sports.

On shows at pre-season training camps, players demand trades and playing the free agency field to switch onto teams and just join up with their buddies to dominate; these are two of the many things that make me realize how wrong I was about pro sports.

Nowadays it’s all about the money. All about the politics. Its all about how to make the most money, not about who can get the most wins.

I’ve realized that pro sports isn’t what I had always hoped it would be.

Professional sports is all business, and I don’t like it.

I’ve played a variety of sports in my day. I pretended to be Michael Phelps in the pool, Alfonso Soriano with the bat, and LeBron James on the court. I played soccer with orange pulp in my teeth on Saturday mornings, and have watched every NBA game on Christmas Day since I can remember. I have seven editions of Madden, and more baseball cards than you could ever imagine.

As a kid I always wanted to be a pro athlete. Like every other little kid, I started playing sports for the love of the game, and that’s why I still play today. I don’t run 10-in-60’s for this school so that I can get paid more. It never crossed my mind until recently that sports may be something like a business.

But honestly, what would happen if pro athletes got paid as much as say a lawyer? Or a teacher? How many players would stay in the league?

It seems like the older I get, the more selfish and greedy the players get.

Darrelle Revis is arguably the best corner-back in the NFL. He’s also one of the most selfish and greedy players that I’ve ever seen or heard of. Because of his ego, he is currently in a holdout with the New York Jets. Revis is due for $1 million for this next season, but since he thinks that he is God’s gift to the game, he wants to be paid $162 million more. At the moment, he has no job and isn’t any kind of role model for young athletes. He obviously isn’t playing the game of football for a profession because he loves it—he’s in it for the green.

This is just one instance of how players always want more money, and always want more attention. I feel like half of pro players strive to be on MTV Cribs rather than be on ESPN or gold in their teeth rather than a championship ring on their finger.

Sports is a business. I have to keep reminding myself of this day in and day out. I just don’t want to accept it.

Why is the third string quarterback the #1 selling jersey for the Denver Broncos? Why did LeBron James leave the Cavs?

Because sports is a business.

Players like Tim Tebow, LeBron James and Alex Rodriguez bring in bank just by the name on the back of the jersey. And the name on the back of the jersey brings in money for the name on the front of the jersey. It’s as simple as that.

Though they have shown their talents on-field, they are celebrities in the public eye and because of that, people want to see them because they are “famous.”

It’s almost like the players are the product, and the team is the company.

I play basketball at East and I don’t get paid a cent. In the two years I have been at this school, I haven’t seen one player quit because they don’t get paid enough, they don’t get thrown the ball enough, or they don’t get enough playing time. Why can’t professional players do the same? Why can’t they find their roots?

LeBron James leaving the Cavs for the Heat in July this summer was a business move. He had an opportunity to play with a better organization, and possibly get a NBA ring, so he took it.  He gets more money from the Heat and Cavs, he gets to play with better players and his friends, who wouldn’t take that job?

It’s just like if you are working at one law firm, and you get offered to go to a better law firm, would you do it? You’d be kidding yourself if you said no.

Sports is a business.

The discovery of happiness I acquired when I watched the Chiefs Jaguars game long ago isn’t what I thought it was cracked up to be.

Sports is a business. But I’m not near ready to accept it.

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Chris Heady is a senior and the Co-Head Copy Editor on the print Harbinger. He enjoys movie soundtracks and a good pen. Read Full »

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