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by Lavern Merriweather

That phrase always strikes me as funny, not in the “haha” way; more like the ‘gee that’s very interesting’ way. Because of who is saying it and why, that comment is usually written by some white male columnist either in the sports or regular media and always in reference to a sport dominated by black male athletes [keep in mind they never make comments like that about hockey].

The reason I find it so funny is because of the issue many Americans have with how much money these men make. They complain that these athletes are ‘overpaid’ and shouldn’t be getting so much money just to put a ball through the hoop. Most of the white males saying it aren’t exactly Peter Pauper themselves. Maybe they aren’t earning millions, but they still make a s**tload more than you or I do and for expressing their opinions no less, which I suppose means so much more than putting a ball through a hoop.

Another reason I find that statement funny is because many white males in the media seem to have no problem whatsoever with the millions made by movie star actors. Men like Stallone, Carrey, Willis, Dicaprio, Deniro etc. who most of the times make movies they should have paid me to sit through. Don’t get me wrong, I think some of those actors are very talented and I appreciate how they perform in their respected craft. The problem I have is why are white male columnists so irritated at grown men getting millions to play a child’s game yet, and not the least bit upset at grown men playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians.

Let’s not kid ourselves that’s pretty much all they are doing. At least an athlete can do his own freaking stunts. What gets me even more is when they do bring up white male movie stars they never once bring up the fact that these men get money for being a professional fake. Instead they praise them by saying ‘well these actors get the butts into the seats so they deserve it.” Excuse me? A man pretending to be a hero or a police officer or firefighter or soldier ‘deserves’ it more than an athlete even when it’s all basically entertainment and that athletes don’t ever put fans in the seats? Maybe the always filled arenas of so many American sports stadiums is just an optical illusion. At least to them anyway, or maybe it’s something else like the prevailing attitude of many white males in the media.

It’s the mindset that believes since I’m so much better than you where do you get off having so much more than I do. It’s okay if male celebrities that look like them make millions. That’s understandable. Hell, even justifiable. After all they are smart, good looking, charming, have perfect smiles and always make us laugh when they yack about some latest project or wacky life moment on the couch with Jay. Those are the people we should look up to and admire. Therefore, they are the ones who ‘deserve’ millions. Never mind that they don’t really do those jobs for a living unless you truly believe that Tommy Lee Jones scours the alleys and basements of America looking for wanted fugitives.

Newsflash! He doesn’t, any more than Toby McGuire is an angst-filled teen dividing his time between being a mild mannered college student by day and blue, tight wearing avenger at night. Or that any of the stars of the 8,000 cop procedural shows are actually solving homicides and other crimes with forensic science. That’s fantasy, but since we need someone to emulate, who better than the millionaires who look like us as opposed to the ones who don’t? There is an old saying that goes if there’s one thing a white man with a nickel hates to see it’s a n**ger with a dime. And in the case of many white columnists truer words were never spoken even when, to some extent, their sizable paychecks make sense.

If you had a job that required you to only work so many hours and only so many days, weeks or months, wouldn’t you need an income supporting you when you aren’t working? And for those of you who say hey “So what? They made the choice to be an athlete. Let them suffer for their supper like the rest of us working stiffs.” But guess what? So did the actors, models, authors, rock stars, reality wannabes, network anchors, shock jocks, columnists or any celebrity who gets paid mind boggling amounts for their chosen craft.

I especially love the columnists who whine that these athletes should play ‘for the love of the game’. Okay, sit back and let that one sink in for a minute. Uh, Rick Reilly, I wonder how much you would ‘love’ it if your salary was reduced because your bosses felt the joy of writing should mean more to you than that 10 million a year you get? I can’t think of any human being who performs any tasks asked of them by a superior and NOT expect to get paid.

Speaking of which, I have yet to hear a peep from these same said columnists about the owners who pay those athletes their enormous salaries. If you can afford to pay several men millions a year for each of them then you are rolling in far more bank than even Bill Gates, Bill Cosby and Donald Trump combined! A concept that seems to have escaped the whiners.

Also, I have not once in my (don’t ask how many) years ever heard the columnists complain about how much money Jimmy Connors earned being a tennis player. Same goes for McEnroe, Borg, Wayne Gretzky, Richard Petty, and Dale Earnhardt or his son. And before someone makes the argument of how ‘long’ ago that was, don’t even. Players from as far back as the 20’s made a bank higher than that of John Q. Public despite the media’s waxing nostalgic about how the players from a bygone era many times were poor boys right off the farm that played for pennies.

Not true. In fact that is an outright lie concocted by white males in the media to make baseball seem ‘pure’ back in the day, before those greedy Negroes came along and completely ruined the game that is. You’d be very surprised to know just how many of those ‘pure’ players lived in a mansion and drove expensive cars.

You see, no matter what the era, celebrities have always been getting paid more than you, even the men who are painted as noble because they played for the love of it. And who the hell said players today don’t love the game? I have to be a pauper to prove I love baseball or basketball? Why should any of these men apologize because a bunch of jealous, insecure, and yes racist gossips get their panties in a bunch because a group of “inferior” people make a couple of zeros more than they do? Hell, if I could make a layup look as effortless and stunning as my boy Michael, I would be clamoring for those millions too. I’ll just have to settle for a plastic hoop on my garage door and the world’s most amateur jumpshot.

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