Absent Fathers Play Significant Role in Fewer Black Baseball Players

Over this past weekend, Major League Baseball celebrated the 71st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the sport’s color barrier. As one would expect, the celebration highlighted the opportunity to praise the sport for the diversity it has come to show. However, one of the issues that was discussed in an ESPN video (as well as in other places over the years) is the declining numbers of African Americans at the Major League level. Despite the fact that black players from Latin American nations are on the rise, the percentage of American blacks in the game have been on the decline since their height of 18.7% in 1981. It has now been under 10% for over a decade.

There are several theories as to why this trend has been the case. Some cite the cost of admission to little league and the price of equipment. Others talk about the rise in popularity of football and basketball coupled with the best black athletes choosing to play those sports instead. Others have cited how the lack of individualism and the fact that baseball doesn’t seem “cool” enough for black America. But a factor that often goes overlooked, and likely won’t be voiced on ESPN, is the epidemic of fatherless households in the black community and how that can impact a son’s interest in baseball.

In general, baseball is more of a game that a son learns to play and to love from his father than any other sport. Playing catch in the backyard is something fathers and sons have done for generations. Taking your child to a baseball game is a longstanding American tradition as well. According to a study done by the Austin Institute,

“While some say baseball is culturally a sport the more educated and wealthy are drawn to, this data shows it’s nowhere near the magnitude of having a father in the home. Boys and girls are 25% more likely to play baseball and softball when they live with their father. High school baseball teams are more successful in counties where, 16 years earlier, more mothers were married when they had children.”

Considering the age of baseball players during these decades of the height of blacks at the Major League level and the subsequent decline, the timeline seems to bear this out. In the previously mentioned peak year of 1981 for African Americans in MLB, the overwhelming majority of players were from the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964). Since President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1965, the rate of blacks raised without fathers has skyrocketed. So it makes sense that the Baby Boomers would produce the highest percentage of black professional baseball players since they were the last generation to be untouched by the government’s misguided policy that destroyed black families.

This isn’t to say that other issues aren’t factors as well. The inner-city surroundings in which many young blacks are more likely to grow up in America may lead to a greater likelihood of interests in other sports than baseball. In response, the league has created the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities initiative (RBI). Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper created the Make Baseball Fun Again movement that encourages more expression in the sport. These attempts may pay dividends down the road in trying to lure more American blacks back to the country’s pastime.

But as much as socioeconomic conditions and cultural preferences can play a factor in baseball’s popularity among specific groups, one cannot underestimate the impact that fathers have when it comes to a child’s athletic experience. The fact that the national rate for black children born to unwed parents has hovered around 70% since the 1990’s will play a huge role in what activities those individuals will be drawn to in their youth. Not having a father in the home has robbed children of all races of so much. Now it appears that a child’s experience in the world of sports is not exempt from those consequences.

No, the President is not our Coach

Fox News host Laura Ingraham certainly caused a firestorm with her recent comments regarding NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant. In case you haven’t heard, both James and Durant made disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump while being “interviewed” in the back of an SUV. Ingraham then responded to these comments on her show by telling both players to (among other things) “shut up and dribble.” As expected, a massive fallout has ensued.

But what perhaps is even more interesting is a part of the initial commentary on the part of both parties that many have missed when discussing the points that were made. While discussing the president, Durant stated that “I feel our team as a country is not run by a great coach.” This resulted in Ingraham saying, “LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach.”

So is the label that both Ingraham and Durant (and by association, James) give to the president an accurate one? Is the President of the United States really the “coach” of the people? In virtually every aspect that one could assign the title of coach, the president does not fit this description. The president (any president) is most emphatically not our coach and both of these NBA Stars along with Ingraham are incorrect for labeling him this way.

In any sport, a coach is someone who advises, critiques, inspires and instructs you. The president doesn’t do any of these things unless you work directly for him. A coach is someone you know personally who has a vested interest in how you perform your job. James and Durant do not know the president personally and appear to have no desire to ever meet him. In our own lives very few of us will ever even meet a sitting president, much less have a personal relationship with him.

All of this runs counter to the myth that most of us have repeatedly heard that the president “runs the country.” In reality, private individuals run the country rather than the president. Small business owners, CEO’s, bosses and heads of households are the ones who really run our everyday institutions. It’s not even correct that the president runs the government. He’s in charge of the executive branch of the federal government. That’s significantly more specific.

Possibly without knowing it, James and Durant have made an excellent case for a more limited presidential power. After all, if a bad president (as they both certainly believe Trump is) can seize the kind of control they fear he can, then the more limitations that president will need placed on him. A beneficial lesson can be learned from all of this. If a president that you vote for and admire assumes more power, then that same power can be wielded by an undesirable president in the future. This is something to keep in mind when any politician amasses more authority.

In light of all this, we should be thankful that the president does not act like our coach, boss, pastor, parent or any other authority figure in our personal lives. If he did, it would be a clear violation of the constitutional limitations that are supposed to restrain him. So when we vote for a president, we aren’t voting for a coach. The person we vote for has a much more limited role in our lives than that. This is a very good thing.

Take a Page From Athletic Philosophy to Solve Black-White Academic Gap

With college football’s bowl season starting, ESPN has recently published an article titled “Bowl-bound student-athletes getting better in the classroom.” The article provides an in-depth look at the academic progress of the players from the 78 teams competing in bowl games this season. Much of this analysis consists of addressing graduation rates for the football players attending these schools. These numbers are then contrasted with the results from previous years.

As one could probably decipher from the article’s title, there have been some significant improvements when it comes to the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of student athletes who play football. The GSR for these teams participating in bowls is 77%. This is up from 75% in 2016. All bowl teams had a GSR of at least 50%. This feat was not achieved by the bowl teams from a season ago.

But an area of concern for these athletes continues to be the gap in academic achievement between blacks and whites. Although the difference has narrowed, there is still a 16 point advantage in graduation rates of white football players over black ones. The number of these schools with GSRs displaying a 30 percentage point gap between whites and blacks who play the sport is also on the decline. However, eight of the 78 teams still have this kind of disparity.

Although we can see positive trends when it comes to the academic achievement of black athletes, we should also account for what has been the source of the continued divide between black student athletes and those of other races. What factors still persist that are causing these results? How do we identify them? What, if anything, can be done to remedy this situation?

For one possible solution, let’s look to the other institution that categorizes these young men as student athletes to begin with. That is, let’s observe the success of blacks in the realm of football. After all, there are now more blacks playing Division One Football than any other race (blacks comprise an even larger percentage of NFL players). This is despite only about 13% of the US population being black. Clearly the problem of a lack of black competitiveness in academics is non-existent on the football field. But why is this the case? Is it because there is some government funded organization that dumps extraordinary amounts of money into making black kids into great football players? No, the reason lies in the demand for excellence that blacks place upon themselves to be great at their sport. It is the responsibility that these blacks take to perfect their skills that lead to being able to compete on this kind of level. Therefore, the solution to the academic deficiencies that black students face is through a desire for personal greatness.

The articles’ author then shares a quote from a discussion he had with famous civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. As far as black student athletes were concerned, Jackson stressed that,

“The collegiate ‘student-athlete’ must continue to maximize both sides of that title by pursuing excellence both in the classroom and on the playing field. Although the academic progress that has been made is encouraging, there is still much work to be done in bridging the achievement gap, and ensuring that African American student-athletes are receiving maximum benefit from their educational experience to prepare for a successful life and career after college. Not every athlete will be a Heisman Trophy winner, a first-round draft pick or a Hall of Fame player, but every student has the opportunity through their collegiate experience to prepare, equip and empower themselves for a meaningful and impactful future.”

Certainly this is not a bad sentiment with regards to these black students. But has Jackson really put this philosophy into practice? After all, if he truly desired excellence from black students in academia and thought they were capable of it, wouldn’t he reject a mindset of victimization and policies which give any kind of preference to blacks? Creating a victim culture and applying favoritism to any race implies that excellence is beyond their grasp or at least not achievable without the assistance from those of Jackson’s ilk and the policies that they favor.

Once again, the reason for the frequent achievement of excellence by blacks on the gridiron has nothing to do with any kind of race-based favoritism or victimhood. Rather, it is the perseverance and responsibility taken by these athletes which propels them to this status. It therefore can be said that blacks have been able to accomplish these feats by applying a very anti-Jackson philosophy to their approach. A similar path put forward on academics would certainly yield better results than the one that these types of black leaders have been peddling since they rose to prominence.

Gun Control Makes Little Sense for NFL Amid Protests

At least two NFL teams have now announced an effort to fund gun control efforts. The San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles joined together before playing one another late last month to declare a fundraising drive for several issued related to the regulations of various firearms. The effort netted almost a half a million dollars. The stated goal is to push for federal bans on bump stocks, suppressors, and armor-piercing bullets as well as to fund anti-gun public service announcements.

But in the wake of the recent protests and activism we see week to week in the NFL, these gun-limiting attempts make little sense. After all, the initial motivation for players “taking a knee” while the National Anthem played was the occurrence of abuse by law enforcement against racial minorities. What logic then would be behind any attempt to disarm the public who is allegedly being victimized by these agents of the state? After all, since all laws are backed up by the use of force by the government, that same government would have to be entrusted to restrict gun rights by using its own guns. This is not exactly a consistent philosophy.

Anyone who has followed the NFL and the protests which have accompanied it knows that there has been a shift away from the initial grievance of police abuse and toward President Donald Trump. This was largely a result of Trump expressing a desire for NFL owners to discipline players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Some said that this was another example of the president’s hostility toward minorities. But if that is true, gun control makes even less sense if we do indeed live in a country with a racially intolerant leader. Wouldn’t the races of people that the administration is supposedly at odds with need firearms to protect themselves against an enemy as powerful as the President of the United States?

In the midst of assessing why gun control would be bad news for disadvantaged minorities, let’s also consider how it would negatively impact women. Limiting gun access especially hurts females given that a firearm is often the only way they could fend off a male attacker. Also, considering the high number of NFL players who are accused of domestic violence, supporting a policy which potentially disarms the victims of these attacks is not exactly a look that the league should want to go for. In fact, considering the size and strength it takes to play professional football, women abused by these men would be in even more need of a gun if one of these relationships were to turn violent.

So considering the motivations behind the National Anthem protests combined with the league’s issues with women, pushing for gun control makes even less sense than it normally does. Those who truly believe that American minorities live in constant threat from either a racist police force or a fascist president should be advocating for more gun freedom, not less. If the league truly cared about the well-being of women, they wouldn’t want to put more restrictions on those women who need to defend themselves against a male aggressor (especially one who is physically able to play in the NFL). Perhaps one day those who are pushing for these measures will become aware of these types of contradictions.

Barkley says NCAA is Dirty. Still Wants Players to Stay There Longer With No Pay.

The aftermath of an FBI investigation into the NCAA has rocked the world of college basketball. Results of the findings were made public late last month. The most well-known of the casualties from the fallout was the effective firing of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. In addition, assistant coaches from Oklahoma State, Auburn, Arizona and USC were charged with corruption along with Adidas global director of sports marketing James Gatto.

One of the most strangely honest moments to come following these revelations came from NBA hall of famer and TV personality Charles Barkley. When answering the question of who is to blame for the scandal, Barkley claimed:

“All of the above. Everybody’s got dirty hands in this whole thing. ESPN, which I love, the money they make on college basketball. Myself and CBS, what we make on March Madness. What the NCAA makes on all these sports. The shoe companies who funnel kids to certain schools, their hands are dirty. The kids who take the money, they don’t have to take that money. So there is nobody who has got clean hands in this whole scenario. It’s a dirty business.”

Barkley is certainly correct about the corruption that abounds in NCAA basketball. It very much is filled with these types of realities. He is absolutely right in calling these entities out. But one wonders why, when given this reality, he continues to harbor the other opinions he has regarding the game.

Barkley is on record saying he wants to require players coming into the NBA to have played two years minimum of college basketball before entering the draft. As it stands right now, the rule is only one year. But if this entity of college basketball is as dirty as Barley has realized that it is, why then should players be forcibly subjected to it for even more time? Doesn’t this increase the amount of “dirt” that these players (especially the elite, NBA ready players) will be involved in during their collegiate careers?

One solution that some have proposed in order to lessen the tendencies to pay student athletes under the table is to allow them to be paid. After all, doing this brings the money out into the open so that the actual business of college basketball can be more closely monitored. So is Barkley in favor of student athlete compensation as a solution? No, he isn’t. In 2015 he told USA Today:

“First of all, there’s not that many good college players. Less than one percent are going to play in the NBA. All of those kids are getting a free education. But let’s say we do it your way — we don’t pay all college players — we have to pay the diving team, the swimming team. That’s crazy.”

Of course, if people are willing to watch these players, why does it matter if they have the ability to reach the NBA? March Madness draws enormous ratings every year despite the very small percentage of its participants being able to make it to the professional level. It makes sense that the talent people are willing to watch should be compensated for the wealth they bring in. Being able to play in a completely different league should not be relevant.

Considering all of the money that is apparently flying around these programs, forcing players to stay there longer and continuing the attempt to prevent access to this money seems to be a fool’s errand. So Barkley seems to be fine with complaining about how dirty the college basketball system is. But he doesn’t want to change anything about why the system is so dirty in the first place. In fact, adding another year to the time a player must spend in this system only increases the exposure to the corruption that takes place. Let’s hope the recent scandals will at least cause him to start reconsidering some of these positions.

ESPN’s Hill has a History of Race-Baiting

Controversial ESPN personality Jemele Hill recently got into some hot water regarding a tweet she sent out conveying her opinion of President Donald Trump. In her tweet, Hill said:

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”

ESPN has responded by saying that her remarks do not represent the network. No action was taken against Hill for the statement.

Although many have felt that some sort of penalty should have been enforced against Hill, ESPN not taking action against her should not come as a surprise. Hill has had a significant recent history of making baseless and outlandish racial remarks while employed at the network. Several of her past columns reflect either an inability to look outside of race as a situational factor or just a blatant desire to race-bait. No action was taken against her for those things as well.

During the 2010 NFL season, Hill wrote an article entitled “Is race still an issue for NFL QBs?” The three black quarterbacks that Hill chose as examples of “unfair” treatment were Vince Young, Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb. When examining these three QB’s with the timeframe in which the article is written, the baselessness of Hill’s claims becomes apparent. Young would have his final regular season start in the NFL just one season later. His career was also marked by immaturity and conflict with his head coach. Campbell was in the midst of a wildly inconsistent season for the Oakland Raiders in which the team ended up going 8-8. McNabb was almost completely washed-up by this point in his career and was attempting to lead a mediocre Redskins team while having only marginal success. Clearly none of these examples are cases of some sort of stellar QB being blatantly spurned by a racist coach.

Nearly a year after writing that article, Hill doubled down on her playing of the race card when comparing quarterbacks Michael Vick and Tim Tebow. In that article, Hill stated that:

“When Tim Tebow bowls over a couple of defensive players for a touchdown in a meaningless preseason game, it’s considered a display of his toughness and leadership. But when Vick launches himself at Troy Polamalu after throwing a costly interception, it’s considered risky and stupid.”

Looking into the professional status of the two quarterbacks at this time, it becomes apparent that this comparison is absurd. Vick was the established starting QB for the Eagles and was about to sign a huge contract. Tebow was still backing up Kyle Orton on the Broncos at the time and was playing under a rookie contract. But of course, Hill doesn’t want to see these types of differences. She only sees race as the source of differing narratives.

Perhaps the most egregious of Hill’s race-baiting articles came after O.J. Simpson was found guilty of orchestrating an armed robbery in 2008. When questioning how fair the case’s jury was, Hill writes in her article:

“There are also serious questions about whether the jury was unbiased. According to an Associated Press report, five of the 12 jurors — all of whom were white — wrote in their questionnaires they disagreed with the 1995 verdict…so much for an unbiased jury of one’s peers.”

So apparently according to Hill, in order to accurately and unbiasedly serve on the jury of a man accused of a crime, you must have thought he was not guilty of a previous crime he was tried for. Why is this some sort of standard for being fair and objective in an unrelated case? Also, why even mention the race of those on this jury who thought Simson was guilty back in 1995? Certainly there were blacks (and other non-whites) who thought the jury decided Simpson’s 1995 double murder case incorrectly. Would it be “biased” to allow them to serve on this jury as well? Or is it only whites who thought this way who weren’t able to decide a fair verdict for the 2008 trial?

Given that Hill has been able to voice all of these opinions in ESPN columns without consequence, it becomes apparent that any reprimand for her tweets about Donald Trump should not be expected. The network has no problem giving her a platform for her views no matter how baseless or race-obsessed they are. It’s best to keep this in mind with regard to any of her statements going forward. Getting upset with someone who has the track record of Jemele Hill just isn’t worth it.

ESPN’s “Robert Lee” Incident Only Latest Example of PC Absurdity

By now, many people both in and out of the sports world are familiar with the controversy surrounding broadcaster Robert Lee. In short, the recent rallies in Charlottesville, VA have caused ESPN to pull Lee from working Virginia’s game against William and Mary due to his name being the same as the most famous general of the Confederacy. As surprising as this move may be to some, it is simply another example of the rampant political correctness that accompanies both ESPN and most of the sports media. So let’s take a stroll through some (though certainly not all) recent events highlighting just how deep the plague of PC has infected the sports culture in America.

(2006) Don Haskins was not a Social Justice Warrior.

In the movie Glory Road (produced by Disney, parent company of ESPN), the day before Texas Western’s National Championship game against Kentucky, there is a scene where coach Haskins gathers his players on the bleachers for a pre-game talk. In that talk, Haskins vows to “put a stop” to the race based criticism of his team. He states that he will accomplish this by only playing the black players who were on his team in the championship game. Five would start and two would be subbed in off of the bench. The non-black players wouldn’t play in the game at all.

This speech that Haskins gave his team never actually happened in real life. Texas Western had been starting an all-black five for the entire season. So the starters for the championship game weren’t chosen on the basis of an attempt to triumph over bigotry or affect social tolerance. Haskins, like every other coach of any other team, was just trying to win games. When asked about the race of his starters, Haskins downplayed the social significance of what he had done by saying “I really didn’t think about starting five black guys. I just wanted to put my five best guys on the court.” It just so happened that all five of his best guys were black. In the true story, the players who were able to start for the 1966 championship team were able to achieve that status purely on their own merits. But in the movie, that accomplishment is tainted by the desire of a coach trying to advance a social agenda. By creating a motivation to conquer racism as the primary goal for the team’s coach, the film undercuts the talent necessary to become a starter and makes it more about factors outside the court than on it.

(2008) Does talking about Mexicans picking up dry-cleaning actually offend anyone?

On ESPN’s Monday Night Football, broadcaster Tony Kornheiser remarked after playing a touchdown call from a Spanish Affiliate station “I took high school Spanish and that either means ‘nobody is going to touch him’ or ‘could you pick up my dry cleaning in the morning.” Kornheiser wasn’t fired for saying this. But he did end up apologizing for it. But was what he said even offensive? Was he perpetuating the well-known stereotype that Mexicans like to pick up dry-cleaning? No doubt this was just damage control for a politically correct organization trying to cover all of their bases.

(2009) No, not all the world’s black people are African Americans.

During a college basketball matchup between Tennessee and Vanderbilt which was played around the time of Barrack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration, a conversation with Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli was a topic that sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards brought up. According to Edwards, Ezeli’s thoughts on the inauguration were as follows:

“I talked to Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli – who is from Nigeria – before the game about Obama’s inauguration. He told me that it isn’t as big of a deal to him as it is to most people, because all they have in Nigeria are African-American presidents.”

Now of course, the individuals who are elected to higher office in Nigeria are not African American (they’re African). It seems rather unlikely that Ezeli would have used the term “African American” to describe his own countrymen. He most likely used the word “black.” But that’s not quite good enough for ESPN. Even when stating someone is an African American is factually incorrect, it’s better than being politically incorrect.

(2016) The Espy Awards embrace gun control.

At the annual ESPN awards show (called the ESPY’s), the 2016 show involved a segment on an innocent teenager who had been shot and killed. The segment began with two time NBA MVP Steph Curry talking about all of the times guns take lives in America. Of course he didn’t mention the large percentage of these times which are suicides or the times where a shooting saves a life from a would-be attacker. The slain boy’s mother was even brought on stage to make the case for more gun control before the segment ended. No mention of the war on drugs or any societal problems that may have caused this teen’s death. Only guns are allowed to be blamed for violence on an ESPN award show.

Well, there it is. Just a taste of how blatantly adherent to political correctness ESPN (and likely others in the sports media) have become. It often takes an incident as absurd as banning a man from a broadcasting job due to his name to shine light on how bad things have gotten. But let’s also take notice of other examples that show the sports media for what it is. Holding them accountable for these types of incidents might cause them to take a long look at their current state.

NCAA Forces Football and School to Go Together (Unfortunately)

Amidst the beginning of the 2017 college football season, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen made a statement about student athleticism that has shook up the world of collegiate athletics. In an interview with Bleacher Report, Rosen said that “football and school don’t go together, they just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says to raise the SAT eligibility requirements. Ok, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.”

Rosen isn’t the first football player to make this point. Back in 2015, Seattle Seahawks’ three time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman spoke about the difficulty in balancing a life as both a college football player and full time student. But could there be a way out of this difficult situation? If so, what would it look like?

The concern that Rosen has over the time constraints of being an elite Division-I athlete and a student shouldn’t come as a surprise. College football brings in huge revenues for the school, the conference and the NCAA. As those revenues have continued to grow, less emphasis has been placed on academics for those who compete and star on the highest level. As a result, many football players choose an easy major with a light work load in order to stay eligible. Rosen’s major, economics, takes more time and effort than one which simply keeps you eligible to play a time consuming sport. So it would seem as if he has a first-hand experience as to the difficulties a student-athlete would encounter when dealing with the pressure of an intense academic schedule.

Rosen’s claim that there are players competing at the highest levels in college football who have no business being in college should also not come as a surprise either. Since putting a great team on the field takes priority over other concerns, elite schools in top conferences will often forgo sub-par academic performance in order to assemble a better squad. This is often why easy majors at these universities exist in the first place. It has also lead to a number of academic scandals involving top athletic programs.

The key statement in Rosen’s comment is that “there’s no other way.” This refers to the fact that playing football in college is the only real way to get noticed by the NFL. Despite college academics having nothing to do with playing a sport, top football players are forced to take on a full time class schedule and football schedule at the same time if they want to reach the professional level. Since a player must be removed from high school for three years before entering the NFL Draft, an athlete must find a way to stay eligible through several semesters. This is a significant difference from the NBA’s “one and done” rule where athletes leaving school after one year only have to stay eligible for a single semester before being drafted.

The solution to this problem is that the NFL needs to take a page out of Major League Baseball’s playbook. Create a minor league system that allows players to be drafted by an NFL team and develop their skills on that level before going pro. This way, players who do not desire a full time college schedule or those not able to undertake one would not have to. Doing this would certainly provide the “other way” that Rosen cited as not existing in the current system.

Sadly, the NCAA would not let this solution occur. Allowing another path to the NFL would likely cause many elite football players to choose against playing for a top school. Thus, the level of talent on the field would suffer. The NCAA is not about to let this happen. So for the sake of maintaining a certain level of play in college athletics, they will prevent a “minor league” system managed by the NFL that would threaten their significance. The revenue stream for college football can’t be threatened in any way. As a result, going to college must remain the only way for an outstanding football player to display the talent that he has. Whether that player has the academic ability or desire to be in college in the first place will not be a matter for concern.

Is Stephen Curry Really Worth $201 Million? Of Course He Is!

The aftermath of an entertainer, especially an athlete, receiving an enormous contract worth more than average Americans will see in their entire lifetimes often causes some pretty opinionated responses. Thus, it was no surprise that this was the case when Golden State Warrior’s point guard Stephen Curry received a new contract for five years totaling 201 million dollars. This is currently the richest deal in NBA history. To earn this type of payday, Curry has won two MVP’s and two NBA Championships over his past three seasons.

As it turns out, the Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler is not so thrilled about Curry’s new deal. A recent article of his is entitled “Is Steph Curry really worth $201 million? Is anybody.” Fowler makes a number of statements in the piece disapproving of the contract. Let’s take a look at these claims in order to debunk the totality of his argument.

Let’s start with this: No human being on the planet needs to be making a guaranteed $201 million over five years, including Steph Curry.

Of course, “needs” is a relative term. If the true necessities of life can be reduced to food, water, clothing and shelter, then anything outside of basic subsistence is something that an individual does not “need.” Although I don’t profess to know how much how much Scott Fowler is paid by the Charlotte Observer for his services, I’m quite certain that he makes enough to afford things that he doesn’t necessarily “need” for his survival. Therefore, someone living an impoverished life in a third world nation would view his comfortable, middle class life in America the same way that he views the life lived by Curry. So if Fowler can legitimately criticize Curry’s contract on the grounds that it enables him to make much more than he “needs,” then it would also be legitimate for a third world resident to criticize the amount that Fowler is paid given that he is comparatively compensated as a sports journalist to a degree that also enables him to live far above an individual living at the subsistence level in an underdeveloped country. Fortunately for Fowler, those who make so much less than he does do not have the means to go online and criticize him for his comparatively lavish salary.

When some public school teachers are fortunate to make $40,000 a year, no athlete needs to average $40 million (which, at that rate, would fund 1,000 school teachers a year).

What Fowler has done here amounts to choosing a popular, presumably underpaid profession that garners sympathy from the public and highlights the massive gap between their salaries and the salary he is demonizing. A closer look at both teachers and star athletes in popular, American sports shows why this gap appropriately exists. After all, the number of people willing to spend money on tickets to watch a teacher perform his/her job would not be enough to fill a sports stadium. In addition, there isn’t a market for televised teaching to the point that advertisers are willing to spend money to put commercials on during a televised teaching session. Since the athletes are the ones that people are paying to see and advertisers are willing to spend money in order to advertise to those who watch via television, it makes sense that those athletes should be compensated for the revenue that they bring in. In fact, due to the NBA “max salary” format and the league’s salary cap, one could argue that the game’s best players are actually underpaid.

This criticism gets even more absurd when considering that the owner of NBA teams (in Curry’s case it’s Joe Lacob) is worth more than any of the team’s players. If NBA stars like Curry weren’t able to make this much money, then their wealthier owners would get to keep more of it. In addition, money isn’t zero-sum. Simply because Curry receives a gargantuan contract for his abilities, that doesn’t mean that teachers or other professions have less as a result. In fact, given the amount of taxes that Curry will pay on his new salary, he will be sending more money to the local educational system (not that there is any connection whatsoever between spending on education and student performance).

Lastly, let’s not succumb to the myth that the state can simply “take” from someone who makes an “unfair” salary and just give it to someone that society feels deserves it. We’ve seen this through anti-poverty programs where it takes the government many times more dollars to actually spend on those programs than what actually reaches the intended target. So it then looks highly unlikely that this same government could seize a huge portion of Curry’s income and seamlessly distribute it among teachers (despite The Ringer’s Michael Baumann claiming that we would be better off if we did this). Sorry, but the track record of the state strongly suggests otherwise.

So don’t be upset at Curry, Lacob, the NBA or anyone else for this situation. NBA players are justly compensated for the audiences they attract and the value that they create. Teachers are not undervalued or underpaid as a result of large athlete contracts. The quicker we realize all of this, the quicker we can stop this misguided blame for society’s ills.

Sports World Silent on Elite Talent Rejecting College

There was little to no surprise in the Major League Baseball Draft last week when high school phenom Hunter Greene was selected second overall by the Cincinnati Reds. Greene is so wildly talented that he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated a couple of months ago despite only being 17 years old. His fastball has been clocked at 102 miles per hour. He is said to have hit balls up to 450 feet in batting practice.

As a result of entering the draft, Greene will not be playing baseball in any capacity at the collegiate level. According to the Sports Illustrated article, he was offered scholarships to both UCLA and USC when he was just 14. Yet he will never play for them or any other college team. Knowing he would be drafted as highly as he was, this decision seems to make sense.

But what has been the reaction from the sports media and sports fans throughout the country as a result of Greene’s opting to forgo college and pursue a professional baseball career? Has there been a national hand wringing and asking of why Greene would choose against college? Is there a lamenting of how college baseball’s quality will suffer as a result of not having someone of Greene’s talent there to make those baseball games better and more entertaining? Is there a clamoring for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to “do something” with regard to keeping players from going to the professional level too soon and making them more likely to go to college and stay there longer?

Of course, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no.” Sports fans who know who Greene is are largely not bothered by the fact that he won’t be playing college baseball. There is no effort that I am aware of to raise MLB’s age limit in order to get players of Greene’s caliber to play collegiately. There is virtually no lamenting over how the level of play in college baseball is hurt by Greene (and other high schoolers like him) opting to enter the draft instead.

Contrast this attitude with what we hear about college basketball seemingly every year. Sports fans and talking heads all over the country can’t stop complaining about how the “one and done rule” (the stipulation that basketball players entering the NBA Draft must be one year out of high school and be at least 19 years old) is ruining the college game. Many fans desperately want elite players to stay at their universities longer in order to improve the sport’s quality. There has recently been talk about raising the age limit even higher.

So why is there such a contrast in the desire to see elite athletes to play at the college level in one sport but not another? Well, take a look at the interest level and attention paid to college basketball versus college baseball. March Madness captivates the nation every year for about three weeks to the point that there are even medical procedures scheduled so that people can watch more of it. Whereas college baseball is barely a blip on the radar for most American sports fans. Seriously, how many people even know that the College World Series is currently entering its final two weeks?

If this seems a bit unfair, there’s a good reason. Simply because of people’s personal sports preferences, athletes coming out of high school in baseball and basketball who would easily be signed to a professional contract are treated in vastly different ways. Hopefully one day the sports world can put aside their individual tastes and allow elite basketball players coming out of high school the same freedom to professionally contract that their baseball counterparts of the same age enjoy. Let’s all hope it happens sooner rather than later.