How do you punish millionaire athletes?
Major League Baseball came down hard on the Milwaukee Brewers’ star Ryan Braun, suspending him for the remainder of the season, a total of 65 games, for using performance enhancing drugs. He has been embarrassed, tarred as a cheater and will suffer a significant financial loss, but it’s hard to say that his punishment is severe enough to make an impact on him, or on other highly paid ballplayers whose turn is coming up.
Braun’s suspension will cost him more than $3.2 million, which is a lot of money no matter who you are. But put it in perspective – he has made $20 million in his career so far (when he was using PEDs). When he returns next year he is guaranteed at least $117 million more. We think he’ll get by OK financially. In fact he probably won’t feel much financial pain at all.
Even more immune to this kind of financial penalty is Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees star who is expected to be next on the suspension list. Rodriguez has been the highest paid athlete in baseball, if not the world, for years, due in large part to his juicing. He has made more $325 million playing baseball. His salary is $33 million a year, and his net worth is over $300 million.
So if he is suspended, even for a season, he has a pretty plush nest egg to fall back on.
If Baseball really wants to prove zero tolerane for performance enhancing drugs and punish players who are proven to have used them, it should be suspended for life, their statistics tossed out and their names erased from the record books. Let them keep their ill-gotten millions.