Dueling columns: Athletes’ paychecks

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    Fans willingly throwing money at franchises

    Athletes, despite the fame and over-the-top attention given to them, are really no different than you and I.

    They are making their way through life, going to work every day and earning a living just like the rest of us are, or soon will.

    While some of the recent money being thrown at high-profile athletes might seem a bit absurd – see star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth’s $100 million deal with the Washington Redskins or slugger Manny Ramirez’s new two-year, $45 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers – how can we blame them for taking what their owners are silly enough to shell out for them? What’s wrong with the idea of getting the best possible deal out there?

    If you were job hunting and you knew for a fact that you could play your cards right and bargain for more salary, there’s no way you wouldn’t try to get as much extra money as possible.

    Whether these players deserve the amount of money they have been receiving lately is a different question. But huge contracts aren’t thrown at players because they’re genuinely good people or because they get along well with teammates, coaches and fans. Big money is handed to the best of the best. Those who score touchdowns, hit home runs and flat out dominate the competition get the biggest piece of the pie – and deservedly so.

    The only reason athletes are paid so well is because people like you and me continue to throw money at sports franchises without hesitation. We are responsible for helping build these mammoth, money-spewing teams.

    If you don’t like your favorite athletes making more money in a year – or a month — than you’ll make in a lifetime, I suggest finding some other way of keeping yourself entertained.

    Sports editor Michael Carroll is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Coppell.

    Athletes’ rejection of multi-million offers offensive

    While the majority of the American public is scrimping and saving, there is a certain group of people that is doing nothing but making a mockery of the economy.

    This group I am talking about is professional athletes.

    Seeing offers of $20 million a year getting turned down is the last thing the American people want or need to see in the newspapers or on TV.

    Especially Manny Ramirez. It’s hard to be mad at a guy who has won me a couple fantasy baseball leagues, but seeing a guy turn down offers of $45 million dollars over two years repeatedly, before eventually coming to his senses and accepting the deal, is just ridiculous.

    These guys are going to get their money – a lot of money for most of them – and there is nothing wrong with getting what you have earned. However, turning down ridiculous amounts of money on numerous occasions is like a slap in the face to all Americans fighting to keep their head above water in these trying times.

    Very few of us can count to $45 million, let alone ever have a chance to see that much money in our bank account.

    These players should be jumping at offers like this, not trying to milk every last dime out of owners. Eventually, if athletes keep doing stupid stuff like this, fans will turn away, which may or may not bother the players at first. But when no owners want to deal with divas that frustrate fans, those gigantic paychecks the players are used to seeing will be turning away.

    The moral of the story of free agency is this: Sure, go out and get the best offer you can, but when the fans you didn’t think about when you turned down that multi-million dollar offer leave you, don’t cry. None of us can afford a Kleenex to wipe away your tears.

    Billy Wessels is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Waxahachie.

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