I've seen a few really sad statements about footballers and actors over the last week or so.
It seems that whenever footage comes out of an Amazon factory where workers are treated unfairly or a financial crisis happens, a shot is fired at footballers (and sometimes actors).
Things like "It's a disgrace that footballers are paid £100,000 a week!" or "How can footballers sleep at night when there are people suffering". The most recent has been "I can't believe football clubs are being bailed out by the government whilst their players are earning £100,000 a week" and "why have footballers not given their salaries up to support those in need?"
We are taught that footballers are the top of the financial tree and that they are the peak of aspiration when it comes to making money.
The sad fact is: footballers are a drop in the ocean wealth-wise. They aren't actually that rich at all. The men that pay their wages would laugh at their pitiful lifestyle. The likes of Roman Abramovich (owner of Chelsea Football Club) wouldn't get out of bed for the weekly salary of his employee Olivier Giroud.
The other sad fact is: these (often hidden away in the shadows) billionaires haven't worked half as hard as the majority of footballers to get to the top. Most have had their lifestyles inherited or (in the words of Donald Trump) started their lives with "a small loan" of millions of dollars passed down from their parents. Players like Ronaldo train like a machine and surround themselves with physios, nutritionists and developmental teams to put themselves at the absolute peak.
Why are we having a go at lads who are often born into normal families who graft from age 4 or 5 to make it in an industry where around 0.0001% are successful (and the majority of successful footballers earn a lot less than the likes of Giroud by the way).
Why are we digging at players who are often very charitable and are giving back in their own way (often in the communities they grew up in)?
Why are we slating footballers for not forking out 100% of their wages when it's actually their employers who are taking advantage of government funding and are hidden away in the shadows?
The reason we pick on footballers and actors is simple and two-fold:
1. They're right there in the public gaze. Every error they make (bearing in mind the majority of them are kids) is criticised, and it's one of very few industries where we know their exact salary. Football is one of the only industries where we're told their weekly salary which is an interesting observation in itself (but i'll save that rant for another day). Therefore it's really easy to slate these elite athletes as we know almost everything about them.
2. We're jealous. Yep. We're really bloody jealous. We see their houses on Instagram and we wonder why they were the ones to be chosen and not us. In times of panic and anxiety they're a really easy target. Why are they there and not you? The answer is pretty simple really: they grafted really bloody hard, a lot harder than 99% of society and they were born with good genes.
Actors, Sports Personalities, Presenters and other public figures who earn good money are not our enemies. They're often normal people who've made the cut and beaten thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) to make it.
Here's a small selection of the people who we should be turning to during this time of financial fear, anxiety and stress. They are the employers (Amazon, Oil Giants, Tech giants etc). Actors and Footballers are the employees, and by Jeff Bezos standards, they're a drop in the ocean.
Here's footballers top 10 by comparison. Let's make the billionaires list as famous as the footballers list and hopefully change the rhetoric.
by Helen Hardy