I don’t know if athletes should necessarily be paid at all, considering their efforts do not contribute productively to the world. Culturally, this promotes a completely irrational standard for success, encourages people to measure their self-worth solely in relation to physical performance, and reduces the many facets of competence into the confines of a rudimentary activity.
I don’t condemn sports in general, because they can very well be utilized for maintaining physical health and motivation to some extent, but it is unfortunate that the mainstream depiction of sports in America is totally awash with cultural norms advocating substance abuse, nationalism, misogyny, and the
escapist disposition to live vicariously through the passions of others. Sports, at least on mainstream television, are clearly distractions dramatized to feign importance.