We grossly over pay our athletes

It’s time for us to re-evaluate our priorities as Americans

Mikie Negrete, Times Staff

Very few individuals are as passionate about all things sports as myself. Sports has been a huge part of my life since the time I was a child.

My father took me to my first major sporting event – a San Jose Sharks game, at the age of seven. From that day forward, I fell in love with the sport of hockey and began to develop interests in the other three major sports – baseball, football, and basketball.

However, in spite of the love that I have for sports, this past offseason for baseball players in particular has left me absolutely disgusted with how much team executives are willing to pay a talented player.

Here is a list of professions that earn less than a professional athlete: teachers, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, etc. The list goes on and on.

This baseball offseason, Manny Machado signed a 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres worth $300 million. Bryce Harper signed a 13-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies worth $330 million. Mike Trout resigned with the Anaheim Angels on a deal for 10 years worth $360 million.

After hearing about all these lucrative deals being given to baseball players, I couldn’t help but question if our priorities are straight as a country.

Is the education of our children – the future of this country – not more valuable than the ability to throw a baseball?

Is the protection of our citizens not more valuable than one’s ability to hit a baseball?

This is, by no means, an attack on athletes. You can’t blame them for taking what others are willing to give them.

This is, however, bringing into question what really is important to us as a society.

We idolize professional athletes and tend to forget that at the end of the day, Mike Trout, Tom Brady, Alex Ovechkin, and Kevin Durant are human beings just like you and I.

One’s ability to catch a baseball, throw a football, shoot a puck, or dunk a basketball doesn’t contribute anything to society.

Instead of continuing to demonstrate our idolization of athletes by giving them ridiculous sports contracts, we should start to show more appreciation to the individuals who invest time into shaping our children and responding to our phone calls in emergency situations by oh, I don’t know, maybe giving those individuals a much deserved raise?