Answering the debate of whether professional athletes deserve their high pay and admiration

Its hard not to be envious of the luxurious lives lived by athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Floyd Mayweather – the money, the fame, the lot! One may see Lebron James’ 39.2 million dollar salary as excessive or think that an annual 8 million dollar pay is far too much for star tennis player Serena Williams but 9 times out of 10, athletes like these have worked tirelessly to be in the position where they are today.

‘But they’re just kicking a ball about!’ some may say, ‘Anyone can do that!’. Its common for people to criticise the occupation of being and athlete and describe it as ‘lazy’ or ‘useless’ and not even an ‘actual job’ but here are five reasons why they don’t deserve this reproval and instead deserve respect.

1) They work extremely hard

5 to 6 hours a day, 6 days a week: that’s the average time a typical professional athlete would spend training. While it may fall a couple hours short of the traditional 9 to 5, training consists of both intense physical and mental strength – none of which exudes laziness. The discipline and dedication this requires, along with strict eating plans, is definitely something to be respected.

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Training of Ex Professional wrestler; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

2) They are great role models

Athletes can be very inspirational. From their effort to their talent, they can lead as great examples to their fans. Take Yuzuru Hanyu, who didn’t allow his injuries or medical conditions to stop him from breaking Olympic records. Or Serena Williams, who consistently addresses sexism in sports, empowering people across the globe. Whilst there may be occasional cheating or misconduct in sports, strict legacies and customs mean that inappropriate behaviour of athletes is almost always penalised. This can teach lessons of fairness and justice – great values to be learnt.

News Shopper: Japanese figure skater; Yuzuru Hanyu at PyeongChang 2018 winter games

3) They encourage health and fitness

As obesity epidemics spread across nations, parents, schools and governments are continuously searching for ways to encourage children to get outside and savour the fresh air rather than spend time behind screens. Now whilst athletes may not be able to single-handedly solve these problems, they do have the ability to inspire people to pick up sports. Seeing them perform may spark interests in people and encourage them to engage in a sport or activity and lead healthier lifestyles.

News Shopper: Olympic long distance runner Mo Farah doing signature victory pose with school children

4) They provide entertainment

Sports are enjoyed by billions of people across the world. It is a sector of entertainment so diverse that there is literally a choice for everyone. Whether wrestling is your thing or you have more of an interest for hockey, there are millions of athletes which allow us to see the things we love. Whether seeing it in person or on television, sports can provide more than just entertainment. It shows diversity which people can connect to, an outlet for people to celebrate the art of humankind. It can bring people together and give happiness to fans and spectators – something so priceless that is indeed worthy of respect.

News Shopper: Crowd at London 2012 Olympics during track event

5) They are often good people

Athletes can do some of the most heart-warming things. Not necessarily because of their occupation, but of the good nature many people in the sports industry possess. Whether its engaging in charity fundraising events, gifting kit to fans or making their biggest idols dreams come true, athletes are well-known for putting smiles on people faces.

News Shopper: WWE’s 2017 event entitled ‘Tribute to the Troops’