Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Big Egos Require Big Contracts

To me, the most disturbing thing about the Jacoby Ellsbury trade is not the fact that he’s leaving the Red Sox after their textbook Cinderella World Series run, nor is it that he went to the New York Yankees, of all teams.  The most disturbing thing is the sheer size of his new contract and a trend that is starting to spiral completely out of control in professional sports.

Star athletes need to be validated by their contracts.  Athletes have come to view their contract size as the ultimate mark of success in their sport.  It’s not the number of championships they win or awards they receive.  It’s not even their individual statistics or records.  In the end, all they really care about is how much they get paid doing it.

I lose a lot of respect for an athlete who holds out for a bigger contract.  When an athlete holds out, he shows both his teammates and the fans that money trumps all.  It is made quite clear that money is more important than the success of his team and the support of his fans.

What’s worse than holding out on your team for more money, is abandoning them for more money; and worse than that is heading over to a rival team in pursuit of your big pay day.

The issue is that these athletes aren’t looking for these bigger contracts to help them feed their kids or to help them pay their bills.  They don’t need that extra $10 million, on top of what’s already a multi-million dollar deal, to provide for their families.  These bigger contracts are all about their ego.

When one of these superstar athletes retires, nobody remembers the size of their contracts. No fan ever looks back on a player’s record-breaking career and recites their pay rate.  When being considered for the Hall of Fame, the amount of money made during their time in the league holds no weight.

Therefore, when star athletes are getting seven-year contracts worth $153 million (like Ellsbury's), I guess the real purpose of such exorbitance is just to make them feel better about themselves.

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