In an age of gargantuan contracts, the numbers were hardly surprising: seven years, 215-million dollars and an annual salary of more than 30-million dollars for baseball’s best, and now richest, pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.
Upon reading of Kershaw’s newly inked contract, which was agreed to on Jan. 15, I was simultaneously amazed and disgusted.
On one level, I could not help but be happy for Kershaw, who, at the tender age of 25, is reaping the benefits of years of hard work.
At the same time, I could not help but feeling disgust at the fact that today’s society would allow an athlete to be paid so much.
During the last few days, my displeasure led to research, which led to the following conclusion.
It is time for our society, and our culture, to reassess its priorities.
Consider the following discrepancies:
The pitcher versus the researcher
Both Clayton Kershaw and Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn have produced their share of outstanding seasons.
For Kershaw, the seasons have thus far resulted in two National League Cy Young Awards, which presented annually to the National League’s best pitcher.
For Blackburn, the seasons have led to a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, a renowned award presented each year to an individual or group of individuals that make an outstanding discovery in life sciences or medicine.
In terms the honor they carry in their respective professions, the Cy Young Award and the Nobel Prize are on equal ground.
Comparing Kershaw’s salary with Blackburn’s however, it becomes clear that the two awards are anything but even footing.
As mentioned earlier, Kershaw will earn more than 30-million dollars in 2014. Meanwhile, Blackburn, who is currently employed as a professor and researcher at the University of California San Francisco will, in all liklihood, earn a salary similar to the 251,076 dollars she received in 2009.
The pitcher versus the teacher
Both Clayton Kershaw and Montezuma-Cortez High School English teacher Sharon Englehart are wizards at their crafts.
During his Cy Young season in 2011, Kershaw won 21 games on the year, accumulated a 2.28 ERA and struck out 248 batters.
That same year, Englhart, a longtime Montezuma-Cortez High School photography and art teacher at M-CHS, toiled away in her classroom teaching high school students.
With 30-plus years of teaching experience, Englehart imparted knowledge to numerous young people, helping them to build the foundations necessary for future success.
During the 2014-15 school year, Englehart will earn slightly more than 50,000 dollars, which equates to .16 percent of Kershaw’s annual salary.
A societal shortcoming
Considering the salary discrepancies described above, in addition to countless others that go unmentioned, I cannot help but think that we, as a society, have to reassess our priorities.
While I am as big a sports fan as any, I have a hard time believing that pitching roughly 33 games in during a season equates to twelve consecutive months of advanced medical research or one year in a classroom.
What it really comes down to is what we, as a society, must reconsider what we value. Yes, entertainment is huge, but given the state of the world, it is high time that more resources are dedicated more to medical research, more to education and more to what really matters.
Reward Clayton Kershaw, but simultaneously, reward the masses who work to cure sickness, educate our young people and reward the individuals who sustain our world.
As a collective populus, it is only appropriate that we frown upon Kershaw’s new deal and recognize it for what it is: absolutely absurd.