Leave fortune out of fame

Allison Rafert, Opinion Editor

For some, it may come as a sigh of relief—Russell Wilson was recently signed on as the Seahawks’ quarterback for the next four years. But at what cost?
Well, his extended contract generously allotted him 140 million dollars, making him the highest paid player in the NFL. And as if that’s not enough already, Wilson was awarded an additional 65 million dollars as a signing bonus. Over the four years that Wilson’s contract lasts, his annual income becomes 35 million dollars each year—nearly 33 million more than what most Americans make throughout their entire lifetime.
Now, it is worth noting that professional athletes can be quite philanthropic. For example, Wilson regularly visits children at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and other celebrities have a history of donating millions to charitable organizations. But, these donations only make up a small proportion of the shear amount of money originally made by these athletes.
And it’s not difficult to imagine what types of extravagant luxuries these stacks will be spent on: perhaps a state-of-the-art Ferrari, a famous painting, or even a tropical resort. These are all nice but completely unnecessary, and the money could reasonably be put to much better use.
In fact, professional athletes should not even be paid these excessive amounts of money in the first place. An athlete could still enjoy a luxurious lifestyle with a reduced annual salary of just five million dollars instead of 35 without resulting in unreasonable and careless spending. Instead the money could be put into programs and organisations that provide resources to directly help those most in need.
However, some claim that 140 million dollars is simply what a professional football player like Wilson deserves to make. If the demand is there in the form of fans purchasing tickets, jerseys, and game memorabilia, the players should be paid an amount equivalent to the millions their product is making.
But, there is a moral component to this rather than just some basic economic laws.
Simply because the American public values an object, it does not mean that that product is worth millions of dollars. Even in the case of a professional athlete, fame does not need to be accompanied by excessive fortune while the majority of hard-working individuals are left in the dust.