In the 1996 film Jerry McGuire, Tom Cruise plays a hot shot sports agents who begins to develop a conscience. When a defense men in the National Hockey League that he represents sustains another concussion, Cruise chooses money over his clients health. Seeing right through this scheme, the son goes off on Jerry, setting the stage for conviction. Unable to sleep with his guilt, McGuire has a vision which turns into a mission statement. Unfortunately, this decision leads to his firing from the firm he practically built. This mentality no longer exists just in Hollywood. Rather, its a sign that the death of professional sports is near.
The way most leagues are run today, labor unions seek to get each player top dollar. However, as salaries rise so do season ticket prices, parking and stadium concessions. At some point, the annual income of fans will be tapped out; unable to commit to a full season. Meanwhile, as stars continue to be insulted by excessive million dollar contracts not big enough for their ego, when will the masses begin to revolt? Although I love watching sports on television, I see a day in the future when even I will tune out professional sports.
Back in its infancy, athletes worked jobs during the off-season as sports were more of a hobby with little pay. This generation of stars played for the love of the game. These pioneers made it possible for today’s athletes to flourish, earning more money than their wildest dreams. Unfortunately, when individuals become bigger than life they lose touch with the middle class. I try not to be negative, but if this current trend continues, it won’t be long before professional sports dies.
by Jay Mankus