In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of athletes out there, making a lot of money.

I know, this seems like the understatement of the year, and it’s certainly not an original statement, but seriously—is there any need to pay a guy $100 million to play football?

There have been three examples this summer that have brought this topic to my attention, Lebron James, Albert Haynesworth, and Sam Bradford.

Lebron James was the talk of the summer throughout late June and early July.  His decision to sign as a free-agent with the Miami Heat was national news, and someone would have basically had to be living in a cave not to hear about this at some point.

The contract he eventually signed with the Heat was a six year deal for $110 million.  For those of you who can’t do quick division, that’s $18 million a year.  $18 million to play basketball.  Just let that sink in for a moment.  (On top of that, he makes $28 million a year in endorsements).  So, if you put those two salaries together, he makes somewhere around $45 million a year.

Here’s a little perspective for you.  Let’s say you owned a company, and you had $45 million a year to pay your staff.  $45 million would allow you to have 450 employees and pay EACH of them $100,000 a year!

The second example I mentioned was Albert Haynesworth.  Haynesworth is a Defensive tackle for the Washington Redskins.  A year ago, he signed a contract for seven years, $100 million.  That’s $14 million a year.

By all indications, this guy is a total thug too.  In 2006, he attempted to stomp on opposing players head, leaving a severe wound on the other players forehead.  This summer, he threw a fit and at first refused to play for the Redskins because they had switched coaches, and thus switched defensive schemes.  He wasn’t happy with the new scheme, so he pouted.

He signed a $100 million contract to play FOOTBALL, and then tries to throw a fit?  And on top of that, when he finally does show up, he’s out of shape and can’t pass their physical tests.  And this guy’s a millionaire 10 times over.

Here’s a little more perspective for you.  According to the Woodward Chamber of Commerce website, do you know what the annual budget for the Woodward School District is? $14 million.

What that means is… the $100 million that the Redskins are paying this ‘upstanding citizen’ Albert Haynesworth, could fund the Woodward School district for SEVEN YEARS.

My third example is Sam Bradford.  Unlike Haynesworth, Sam Bradford seems to be a great guy and a class act.  So, surely he deserves tons of money right?  Well, just a few weeks ago, he signed a contract with the St. Louis Rams.  The contract was $86 million for five years.  Of that $86 million, $50 million of it was “guaranteed money”.  What that means is, regardless of if he never even PLAYS for the Rams, he still gets the $50 million.  He has yet to play a single game in the NFL—and they are paying him $50 million.

Again, here’s some perspective.  Not too long ago, Max Haley posted an article on this website about a proposed bond issue and construction project that the city of Enid is considering.  The total price tag on this project was $40 million.

What that means is, Sam Bradford could pay for the entire construction project and STILL have $10 million!  And that’s just out of his guaranteed money, he has a yearly contracted salary beyond that!

And these are just three examples.  I could go on and on, listing dozens of athletes who are making millions upon millions of dollars to play a silly game.  There are over 3,000 professional athletes in America—one wonders how much money is being tied up in them.  Another quick example, Bret Favre is currently trying to decide if he is going to play for the Vikings this year. To “sweeten the deal”, the Vikings just casually offered to throw in an extra $7 million.  Let’s use the school example again.  Their “deal sweetener” would be enough to run the Woodward school system for six months!

At what point does this become ridiculous?  I’m not saying we should get rid of professional sports.  I’m not even saying that these guys can’t be paid substantial salaries—after all, the amount of money they bring IN is astronomical (in terms of ticket sales, apparel sales and so on).

But, surely there are many, many other worthy causes and institutions out there that could truly benefit from this money—but instead, some guy just goes out and buys another multi-million dollar home.