Society places too much value on entertainers


Celebrities and professional athletes are paid an proportionately larger amount than teachers and other essential service workers.

Elyse Perry, editor

When most people think about the careers that keep our country running, the first jobs they think of are teachers, farmers, doctors, and emergency service workers. After all, those are the people that keep the population fed, healthy, and educated. While there’s no doubt that these workers are essential, they still make so much less than entertainers like football players and actors. When looking at salaries, it seems like our country prioritizes the wrong careers.

In my opinion, the most overvalued jobs in our society are professional football players. The average salary in the NFL is $860,000; the minimum salary teams are allowed to pay their players is $660,000. That means that the lowest paid player earns more money each year than most people in the country make in 10 years. The one that bothers me the most is Patrick Mahomes’ ten-year contract for $450 million. He makes $45 million a year to play a game.

I think that everyone can agree that teachers are much more essential to our country than football players, so why is it that the average salary is so much lower? On average across the United States, teachers earn $56,130 per year. In our area, the DCSC teacher salary budget is only around $4 million. That means that Patrick Mahomes could pay every DCSC teacher their salary 11 times and still have an extra million dollars left over. Even in that case, he would still make more than the average teacher. 

Indiana recently implemented a plan to raise the starting teacher salary to $40,000 a year. In the plan, it specifically states that schools should “try” to reach this goal by the 2022-23 school year. It makes me sad that our schools are struggling to pay teachers a living wage while we have players on the Colts who make upwards of $10 million a year to get tackled.  

Firefighters, police officers, and doctors are the same; they are very necessary, yet they also don’t make anywhere near as much as even the lowest paid football players. The national average salary for police officers is around $67,600. For firefighters it is even lower at $48,539. Of course, the reason for these low salaries is that teachers, firefighters, and police officers are all paid with tax money, but even when looking at private sector doctors, the gap is still there. Doctors and surgeons have to attend college for eight years and get many certifications to practice medicine. Even with the number of licenses and certifications they have, the average salary of a physician is only $225,000. For a surgeon, the average is around $408,000. 

While this might still seem like a total private versus public sector problem, it’s really not; a lot of taxpayer money that should be spent on raising the wages of these essential workers is spent on sports stadiums and other equipment to support associations like the NFL. For example, 86% of the cost of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was paid by taxpayers. That was $620 million in taxpayer dollars that could’ve gone to something actually useful, like raising teacher pay. 

Based on the numbers, it is obvious that there is something wrong with our societal priorities. When it becomes so apparent that we value our entertainment workers above our healthcare workers, we should realize there is a problem. We’ve made it to the place where a single football player earns more money in one year than many people can hope to make their entire life. Nothing against Patrick Mahomes, but I really think he is the perfect example of how our society puts too much value on entertainers.