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Pay What Is Due
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Pay What Is Due

With all that is going on in both Australia and the USA with regard to players compensation in Aussie Rules and NBA, it led me to thinking how much is fair compensation? What is really interesting is that extreme vast differences exist between the two countries and what a player is compensated for every time they step onto the ground or court.

In Australia the average salary that a rookie player gets is currently at AU$35,400pa and in the NBA currently the lowest paid player is paid US$200,000pa! On the other side, the highest paid AFL player is paid AU$600,000pa while at the NBA, the highest salary paid to a player is US$25, 244,000pa! Now both of these codes in each country are battling with their respective organisations for increases in their salaries. I can understand the AFL players wanting more but the NBA players!

What gives the NBA players the right to assume that they deserve the obscene amount of money paid to them to play a sport? But it’s not just the NBA players; it’s the NFL, baseball, soccer in Europe. The players get mind blowing amounts to play a sport. Now credit where credit is due, the other sports are not protesting about how much they are not getting, it is the NBA players that are. Given the current economic situation in the USA, they must as a collective group realise that the only way that they can get paid is if the fans attend the matches.

It could get to a point where the fans will look at these players getting paid more than they could ever comprehend and now are fighting for more, and will turn away from attending games. There is fair compensation and then there is greed, and I think that for the NBA players, who are getting such inflated salaries, it is greed.

Why greed, because their salaries don’t stop at what the club pays them. There are sponsorships, endorsements and other incentives that a player can get. While I love the sport, I have little or no respect for a player being paid over US20 million dollars a year and wanting more.

Whereas in Australia, I do believe that the players do deserve more, without question. Every time they step on the field, they are putting their bodies on the line. If you compare the physicality of the NBA to the AFL, the NBA is playing netball in comparison. A player in the AFL can get tackled, head hits the ground and concussion sets in. When was the last time a NBA player suffered from concussion while playing? But in any given weekend during the AFL season, at least one player will be subbed off due to suspected concussion.

An AFL player has to be faster and stronger than a player in the NBA. Now I know there will be those that will disagree, but watch the games and compare them. Look at the distance an AFL player will run in any given match, compared to that in the NBA. Look at the physical contact that the AFL player has in any match, compared to one in the NBA. Now look at what they are being paid and tell me how fair it is when an NBA player complains that US$200,000 at the bottom end and US$20 million plus, is not enough money!

It is true that population wise, more people will watch the NBA not only in the USA, but around the world, whereas in Australia, given that it is a sport that is only played in one country that the number of fans are not nearly as big. But that doesn't mean that in each country, the fans are not just as passionate or that the sport is any less significant.

But AFL players should and must get a pay rise, without question. They deserve it in every possible way, from the rookie to the top players. The NBA players do not deserve a pay rise and that too is without question. It has nothing to do with anything else but greed.

I love AFL, with a passion and when the season is over, I like watching NBA. But this year, the players call for more money will put me right off. So to the governing bodies of each sport, NBA, keep the lockout going, they are not worth it; AFL, pay them, they are definitely worth every single cent.

GO BLUES!


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