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iStock_000000193912XSmallIn 2009, LeBron James of the NBA earned $23 million, according to Forbes; Tiger Woods pulled in $87 million; Manny Ramirez of the Red Sox cashed in at $24.2 million; Derek Jeter, $22.6 million; and Alex Rodriquez $33 million a year—both players on the New York Yankees.

Research analysts and healthcare practitioners, who improve and save lives, school teachers who educate our children, and administrative assistants who help manage the worlds businesses, don’t make anything near what a professional athlete makes. If we took away administrative assistants, where would we be as a society? How about taking away teachers? How about eliminating the researchers and minimizing the number of healthcare providers?? How are we doing then? Now, what happens if we take away sports? Nothing! Just lots of bored people. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not blasting the sports industry or the athletes; I’m just trying to make a point.

I feel our society has a warped sense of value. We think its OK to give the sports industry and team owners a lot of money so they can pay the athletes millions of dollars to excite us and momentarily help us to escape reality. How ironic it is that people will spend boat loads of cash on tickets and memorabilia, gas and travel, parking etc., to support the athletes’ salaries, but choose orange soda and Oreos for food because they’re cheaper or “affordable!”

Professional athletes are constantly in the public eye; often they are figures that our kids and society look up to, aspire to be like—just short of being deities. Perhaps these popular figures could use their influence to show their admirers how to live healthier lives and make better lifestyle choices. This includes nutritious foods and the importance of exercise.