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Anywhere you look today you can see Mark McGwire hitting a home run, or Kobe Bryant dunking over someone. Every time someone watches television or reads a newspaper these, and many other, athletes can be found. Professional sports are all around us; they re a part of our culture. But, in the last few decades some changes have started to take place. As the popularity of professional athletics has increased, so has the cost to render them and their players salaries. Many of the contracts signed today are for millions of dollars. This is unreasonably exorbitant for doing something gaiety. These days sports are centered around money and not focused on the love for the game and entertaining the fans.

Some economists argue the point that major league sports, their products, players, and stadiums endow millions of dollars to our economy. This is true, but the fine print that goes along with it is often overlooked. Stadiums, for example, cost millions of dollars to build, maintain, etc. The funds to do this are provided by the tax paying citizens of that city. Many teams then, in return, relocate to other cities in search of more money and better facilities. This is no way to reward fans for years of loyal support. There are many programs, scholarships, foundations, etc. formed by many players and organizations though. These are good ways to give back to the communities that sustain them and use their grand salaries in a nice, resourceful manner.

Now the major appeal of playing in the big leagues is landing big contracts and getting endorsements; instead of a higher, superior level of competition. A prime example of this is Elton Brand, who bypassed his junior and senior year at Duke to go directly to the NBA. Another athlete looking for a big paycheck is Kevin Brown, who recently signed a $105 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is an outrageous remuneration for someone that plays a game. Not only are athletes overpaid, many ignore the rules of etiquette that come along with being in the major leagues. Lately, some players have resorted to fighting, spitting and head butting referees. Not all professionals have these types of characteristics though. Many players, such as Cal Ripken Jr., have remained faithful to their team and fans. These people represent what sports should be all about. Athletes should be thankful that they get to play the game and get paid for it. Many people around the world would love to be able to have the same opportunities that they have.

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