While searching through pieces last night for inclusion in While We’re Waiting this morning, I came across a piece at Ball Don’t Lie about a pair of NBA stars that believe they should be paid for their time on Team USA at the Olympics. Ray Allen went first on Tuesday saying he thinks players deserve ‘an enticement’ for representing the country in the summer games-
“You talk about the patriotism that guys should want to play for, but you (need to) find a way to entice the guys. It’s not the easiest thing in the world if you play deep in the playoffs and then you get two, three weeks off and then you start training again to play more basketball where it requires you to be away from home and in another country. It’s fun, but your body does need a break.”
“Everybody says, ‘Play for your country.’ But (NBA players are) commodities, your businesses. You think about it, you do camps in the summer, you have various opportunities to make money. When you go overseas and play basketball, you lose those opportunties, what you may make… If I’m an accountant and I get outsourced by my firm, I’m going to make some money somewhere else.”
Fox Sports’ Chris Tomasson wrote the original piece on Allen’s comments and pointed out that the Olympic committee actually does give athletes compensation for winning medals. All athletes receive $25,000 for a gold, $15,000 for a silver and $10,000 for a bronze. Obviously, that is chump change to these mega-millionaire NBA stars. No, what Allen says the players deserve is a piece of the revenue from the sale of jerseys, shoes and whatever else is sold with Team USA on it-
“(The players) are wearing jerseys and (others, but not the players, are) making money off it. Something (should be done) just to say to the guys, ‘Hey, you guys are spending this much time, 40 days, playing basketball, we’re paying for some type service that you provide, that you’re getting some kind of kickback’… I know that you sell unlimited jerseys so I think the players should get some piece of that.”
Cue ESPN’s Michael Wallace asking Dwyane Wade his opinion on the matter-
“It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell. We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated. Just like I think college players should be compensated as well. Unfortunately, it’s not there. But I think it should be something, you know, there for it.”
“The biggest thing is now you get no rest. So you go to the end of the season, [Team USA] training camp is two weeks later. You’re giving up a lot to do it. It’s something you want to do. But it’s taxing on your body. You’re not playing for the dollar. But it would be nice if you would get compensated.”
I’m not sure where to begin.
Obviously, I am not in the shoes of these athletes. I can’t really understand what it feels like to go through the grind of an NBA season and then two weeks later begin training for the Olympics.I don’t know what it’s like to walk down the street and see someone wearing a jersey with my last name on it, or wearing a pair of shoes with my signature on them.
I do know this though, there are thousands upon thousands of Americans who get two weeks off a year. (And even more nowadays that would love the stability of a permanent job with vacation.) There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who weren’t born with God-given athletic ability as a meal ticket. And it kind of makes me sick that we’ve gotten here.
I find it disgusting that an athlete who makes $12 million dollars a year to endorse a shoe would have the nerve to bring up money made on merchandise. Who exactly does he think is making those shoes? He’s a Nike athlete, go ask Phil to cut you another check.
The primary concern apparently isn’t even money (right) but the time. Well, I have a solution for that.
Don’t go. Don’t play.
Seriously. If it is just too much for you every four years to go witness and be part of the greatest sporting spectacle in the world- then please stay home. We would hate to trouble you.
I’m sure we can find a few players that are willing to make that kind of sacrifice.