Athlete Salaries

Athlete Salaries: Are athletes paid too much money?

I would like to start off this post by mentioning the title of the article listed, about athlete salaries called, “Athletes are overpaid and selfish.” I think this is a rash title in the fact that it automatically equates being overpaid (a phenomenon that can be found in many fields of work) and being selfish. In today’s day and age, people are compensated for their work based on the value of their productivity. Mainly, it’s based on the values others place on their work. Take into example, Bill Gates value or more broadly, a doctor’s value. Both are valued highly because they have rare services or goods that people both want and may need. Bill Gates offered the world valuable technology, that people wanted. A doctor offers essential services, healthcare, which is both a want and a need for people.

Now take into account athletes, they are “overpaid” because like any other job, they are held valuable by society or certain cultures. “Overpaid” athletes maintain a loyal fan base, that are more than willing to dish out money for season tickets or the team’s gear. Obviously many may be selfish, you will find that in any group, but my point is that the contracts they sign are human, people want money and if they are valued at a certain price, they will take that. You could say athletes are paid too much money, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely unfair. The argument that people don’t need that much money to themselves is not as relevant as we may like to believe. You can be comfortable, have a nice car, a large house, etc. and earn no where near to an athlete’s salary, but does that make you any less selfish? If you had the chance to earn as much money as they did, if you had the ability to perform as they do, would you not take it?

Michael Jordan’s Jordans

Michael Jordan’s Jordans: Should the athlete be responsible/ take a stand for the violence that often erupts over the sale and distribution of his popular sneaker brand?

I feel that Michael Jordan could use his fame as a notable businessman with basketball shoes and as being one of the NBA’s greatest players, to create a platform against violence that takes place during the selling of his shoes. He does not have much control over people’s personal actions, but he can influence people against such violence through his platform. I feel that he cannot be personally held responsible because his shoes are selling all over the country and being in this industry comes at a price. Let’s take a look at another example, such as Black Friday. Not only is there violence taking place on this “holiday,” but people die from being stampeded after they’ve waited in line all night. The crowds are horrendous and violence over merchandise and goods happens a lot, especially when our society is so focused on materialistic items. Our culture is one of consumerism and that plays a part in the heights people will go to for certain goods, such as Michael Jordan’s shoes.

That being said, I feel that Michael Jordan, as well as many other athletes, have a social responsibility with the fame they have achieved, to influence peace into the basketball fan base, and shoe fan base at that. He should take a stand against the violence because people that are fans, whom want his shoes so badly that they are willing to obtain them by any means, will listen to him since they already look up to him. He has a responsibility to them and to the common public to uphold a positive influence that can better society in the long run.

Legalizing Marijuana

Legalizing Marijuana: Some states have legalized use of the drug and others still haven’t. Should marijuana be legalized everywhere?

This seems to be a very controversial topic, especially when it comes to the law and the decisions of politicians. Many states have legalized marijuana, others haven’t, and it is not federally legalized. I feel that it should be legalized, obviously with discretion, but nonetheless I think it should be federally legalized.

First off, the legalization of marijuana federally would decriminalize petty crimes. There are overflowing jails, costing taxpayers and the government more money, full of people that were caught with small amounts of marijuana. Although it is classified as a schedule 1 drug (it’s been proven that it’s nothing close to cocaine which is also a schedule 1 drug), there have been no deaths in the United States due to marijuana overdose. Alcohol is legal, yet so many people drink and drive and may end up killing themselves and others and there have also been numerous deaths due to alcohol poisoning. How can alcohol or even cigarettes be legal, and marijuana, a plant that has been taken by the majority of the population, be illegal with large criminal charges attached to it. How can someone in Virginia who sells two grams of marijuana illegally, be thrown in jail, when someone in Colorado is selling mass amounts at dispensaries? It creates a huge divide in our country and marginalizes communities through the criminalization of marijuana.

Marijuana should also be legalized because it has many health benefits, and should be accessible to those who need it most. It aids as a pain killer or natural alternative in comparison to anti-anxiety and pain killer drugs that are easily overdosed. It can aid with epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and more illnesses.

Lastly, in the article by the Loudoun Times, it discussed how we shouldn’t “legalize a narcotic for tax revenue,” yet alcohol and cigarettes are dangerous drugs that contribute to tax revenue. People who use marijuana will use it whether it’s legal or not, thus there could be a great intake of revenue that could go to the betterment of society if it’s legalized. For example, Colorado is using much of the revenue to provide state scholarships to under-privileged students. Marijuana, in my perspective, has many more pros than cons, and should be legalized federally.

DISSECTING ANIMALS IN SCHOOL

Dissecting Animals in School: Is it unethical or educational? Is it right or wrong to dissect animals in a school setting?

I feel that this discussion could go either way. There are many ways that dissection can be education especially for classes like anatomy or as students in college further their medical careers. In fact, these matured students must dissect cadavers (dead human bodies). Noticed I included the word “matured” in that sentence. There tends to be a point in student’s educations where they are able to handle things that are serious such as dissection, in a matured manner. The article described how students would post pictures on facebook and one student found a cat head in their locker. This is very disrespectful to the school, the students, and the cat. Dissections should be respectable and I think in high schools and middle schools, dissection should be limited to smaller animals that are in great abundance that more people have less emotional attachment to, such as small fish. A cat tends to be a domesticated household pet and that could wreak some sort of emotional havoc on already impressionable teens, as said in the article. I also think that the choice to opt out of dissections and maybe do an online simulation on the computer should be a valid option in classes. That way, students will not be discouraged to take that certain class if they didn’t want to do the dissection per say. Lastly, maybe dissections can be limited to upper level classes that are tuned towards more serious and mature students who are truly interested in the topic and will be respectful towards the dissection subject as they work. Dissections can be really beneficial if students are truly interested in learning, but I can also see how they could be harmful if in the hands of an immature student that won’t take it seriously. The option to opt out is also a really good option for students that morally do not want to dissect the animal or for students that simply feel uncomfortable with the task.

Child Beauty Pageants

Child Beauty Pageants: Self-esteem boosting or exploitative?

Child beauty pageants can both be self-esteem boosting, beneficial to children’s future, and exploitative all at the same time. I think it’s the way that parents go about the pageants that will affect what impression it will leave on the child. First off, child beauty pageants must be consensual meaning the child must actually want to participate in the pageant. In this case, I feel that the pageants can be self-esteem boosting while also helping the child develop essential life skills at an early age. It teaches a child how to communicate and how to perform in front of an audience which will help them with things like presentation skills, interviews, etc. I personally have a friend that started participating in beauty pageants at a young age and she’s won many awards and gained amazing people skills. Her confidence is also off the charts and she has an easy time communicating with colleagues and employers in her adult life. Another benefit of child beauty pageants are the perks of it. Since they are a competition, if you win or are second runner up you usually get monetary awards or scholarships that can go towards your college education in the future. That may not be too important to a five year old, but the parents will have the opportunity to help their child save up for college. This is especially beneficial to parents that may have low incomes and need an alternative way in which to support their child and their child’s future. I think that most of the time parents look out for the well being of their child and obviously there are cases where they don’t, but most parents want the best for their kid. In many ways child beauty pageants can be exploitative and could possibly hurt the child’s self esteem, but I feel that it also has many benefits to the child’s life skills along with their potential future.

Standardized Testing

Question: Do standardized tests (like Virginia’s SOL tests) benefit or damage students/ teachers? Why?

I feel that standardized tests, such as the Virginia SOL tests and the SATs, both benefit and damage students and teachers. This highly debated issue comes down to a few things. First off, let’s start with the negatives. Standardized tests make the curriculum much more rigid because it determines what a teacher can and cannot teach within the class’s subject. Sometimes the SOLs contain random topics that don’t relate as much to the class and may be much more tedious in terms of learning and teaching. In this case, it both negatively affects the students and the teachers because they have no flexibility in what they want to teach and what the students want to learn about. Secondly standardized tests can marginalize students that have less of an advantage in comparison to their peers. For example, if you don’t pass an SOL by one point, you have to take that course all over again and a lot of the time it becomes discouraging to students. I feel that SOLs can find a space of leniency in order to help these students succeed.

There are also various ways that standardized tests can be beneficial. Standardized testing gives students the opportunity to compete even if they are disadvantaged in terms of socio-economic status, such as not being able to afford a tutor, etc. It still gives these students the opportunity to be on the same playing field and have a chance to compete with advantaged students for spots in universities and colleges around the nation. The SATs also have a program with the PSATs where students can earn scholarships if they perform exceedingly which gives incentive for students to study and try to perform to their best ability.

PROMPT ON FOOD STAMP LIMITATIONS

Question: Do you think government control over what food stamp recipients can and can’t purchase would be effective in promoting healthier lifestyles? Is it ethical?

I feel that government control of food stamps in terms of restricting what recipients can buy would not at all be effective in promoting healthier lifestyles. In fact I feel that it would have a rather detrimental effect on the livelihood of recipients of food stamps. Many politicians and groups argue that people on food stamps are having health problems because they are choosing to eat unhealthy products over healthier ones. Well here’s the issue, the amount you can buy with food stamps is already limited, so that basically limits your choices in term, what kinds of foods you can and cannot buy. You’re basically forced to buy the cheaper foods which tend to be the most unhealthy foods. Fresh produce, organic products, etc. tend to be marked up price wise, but many are working to a lot of local farmers and such are working to lower those prices. I think that the answer to this issue lies in the power of citizens to promote healthier lifestyles by making it more affordable for their counterparts to purchase them. Secondly, I think that the government could address this issue by further subsidizing organic products, fresh produce, and healthier foods with less preservatives and additives. In the article it said that the mother just buys as much as she possibly can on the limited budget she has, in order to feed her family of five. She said she buys what her children eat and sometimes she goes hungry in turn. Instead of restricting what a person can and cannot purchase to eat, the government should be trying to make it easier for these individuals to attain health foods so that they can live a healthy lifestyle.

Prompt on Affirmative Action

Question: Should race be a significant factor in university admissions?

I feel that race should maintain itself as a significant factor in university admissions due to the fact that diversity in universities needs to be increased to foster a community and environment that is globally conscious and accepting. Many schools tend to lack a large amount of diversity and sometimes advertise that they are more diverse than they really are. Affirmative action allows for marginalized communities of students who may have had to struggle harder to get to where they’re peers are, are given a chance. Minorities tend to have lower socio-economic status in comparison to their white counterparts and this gives them a lower advantage. I feel that affirmative action allows for a leveled playing field, and obviously race will not be the only thing taken into consideration during the application process. You obviously must show merit and desire and universities must respond to that rather than just letting kids in for the numbers. Universities must choose wisely and I feel that they do, do a pretty good job at that.

Affirmative action is important because it promotes diversity on college campuses and this is so significant because it’s what America and the world is really like. America is a place with people from almost every country around the world and that’s important in how college classes are taught and executed. We have to respond to the internationality of the world we live in and we must represent that with our educational institutions because that’s the only way we’re going to really learn about the world around us and the various issues we face in all fields. College students must be exposed and learn how to live in a diverse community and use that to their advantage during their college experience. So I feel that affirmative action is very necessary in order to keep schools diverse and give marginalized communities a chance at the same opportunities.

PROMPT ON DRINKING AGE

Question: Should the MLDA be decreased to 18?

I feel that the MLDA should be decreased to 18 because it would allow for teens to drink more responsibly and learn responsibility at a younger age. I understand the argument that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until about age 21, but even so teens begin drinking around the start of high school and lowering the age would maybe decrease the “glamour” of it. Along with this, many countries in Europe and around the world have younger ages like 16 as their minimum drinking age. Many exchange students that I’ve met over the years describe how drinking in Europe is not the same in America. It is much more glamorized in America and binge drinking is a lot more apparent. There are commercials that make binge drinking attractive and like it’s the cool thing to do, whereas in Europe, people learn from an early age how to drink responsibly and how to make it a factor of life rather than letting it overtake the culture.

Another argument for the MLDA to be decreased to 18 is the fact that you can be drafted at 18, but you cannot legally take a sip of wine with your parents at dinner. You can be shipped off and die for your country, but you cannot have a beer or a glass of wine. I feel that is the wrong signal to be sending to American youth. I understand that teens can be rowdy and irresponsible, but allowing a level of trust gives teens an incentive to be responsible and to do what’s right.

Lastly, in the article, it described how having the MLDA set at 21 decreases the amount of DUI’s. If the MLDA was set at 18 instead, people would learn how to drink responsibly and to not drive at an even earlier age, especially when they may be seniors in high school and things like this tend to happen then. Sometimes DUI’s happen because high schoolers are scared to tell their parents their drinking and get behind the wheel instead. Lowering the age to 18 would de-stigmatize drinking and allow for young adults to learn further responsibility while still in high school while keeping them a bit more safer.

PROMPT ON PUNISHMENT FOR DRUG CHARGES

Question: Is prison the most adequate solution for criminals with drug charges?

I feel that incarceration is not an adequate solution for criminals with drug charges. People that are addicted to drugs or alcohol may have a very deep rooted problem that needs to be solved in the long term. Treatment is a much better solution in comparison to incarceration because it provides a healthy environment to begin the process of becoming an ex-addict. Society may be concerned with the idea of these criminals going unpunished, but in many aspects, treatment/rehab isolates prisoners from their friends and family in the short run which can be seen as punishment. Locking someone up in a cell does nothing but detain them and detainment should be reserved for people that are actually extremely dangerous to society.

Many jails end up filling up because people are locked up for petty drug crimes. This overpopulation of prisons could be solved if there was a better solution such as treatment and rehabilitation. Treatment would also negate the statistics that clearly state that inmates released from jail typically return to jail in the next three years or so. The Center for Disease Control estimated that about 1.9 million people in jail or prison used illicit substances. There’s a reason this is so high. People do not receive the help they need and sometimes they are not aware of the problem. Receiving treatment is more important than being punished because it will better society and give people a second chance at life. Some may argue that treatment is too expensive, but in the long run it will save society more money than continuing to build prisons, especially as incarceration rates rise. Costs of running prisons are already high and most of the time inmates do not receive much betterment from their time locked up. Treatment is a far more efficient and beneficial alternative to incarceration of criminals with drug related charges.