It is not unusual to hear of millionaire sportsmen who are raking in the dollars
with endorsement contracts. Even before they have truly proven their worth,
sportsmen deemed to be endowed with
potential are already signing contracts involving large sums of money. Today,
the value of a sportsman is less likely to be measured by performance than his
Of course, one cannot underestimate the lure of money.
Sports have become careers instead of just interests as they were in the past.
Sportsmen employ agents who work out deals with sponsors as well as the clubs to
ensure that they are well paid for their performances. In fact, each superlative
performance seems to fuel speculation over whether the salary paid out in the
existing contract will be increased by the club to keep the sportsman in its
fold. It is not unusual to hear of sportsmen who refuse to renew their contracts
until they get more money and perks. Thus, sports appear to have become a big
business in which money does call the shots.
Furthermore, the use of performance-enhancing drugs and match-fixing in the
world of sports are increasingly reported. This could be due to the fact that a
gold medal in an international sporting event is a guarantee of wealth since
sponsorship and advertising deals are always worked out with the winners. To win
at all costs thus becomes an obsession. Even in regional tournaments like the
Malaysia Cup, match-fixing was rampant as players take bribes from bookies to
lose games. As a result, the real thrill of sports is lost since results are
predetermined by the bookies. This bodes ill
for the sport as it means that sports lovers would be disgusted.
However, not all sportsmen are guilty of such things. There are sportsmen who
desire more than just the extrinsic rewards.
The recognition that comes with a gold medal is certainly more rewarding than
money. Sports are challenges that the best sportsmen hope to conquer. In certain
countries, you hear of ardent sportsmen who take on lower-paying jobs in order
to pursue their game. Many a time, representing the country in international
tournaments means taking one's own leave from work and even paying for own
expenses. These people are doing it not for money but the game itself.
To the real sportsman, the reward of monetary gain is only secondary to the
sense of achievement. They challenge themselves to push the boundaries of their
ability so as to maximize their potential. It is unfortunate that in the age of
television, viewership concerns have resulted in the `marketing' of sports to
promote products. Money has become an inevitable part of sports, but the issue
remains whether its motivation is of primary or secondary importance.