Americans are divided according to economic class, with each class possessing different material goods, income levels, inheritances, educations, work descriptions, and influence over others. Regardless of how we define or divide these classes, each experiences real differences in opportunity. Social class is defined as a category of people who share similar positions in society based on the aforementioned divisions.
A part of the American dream has always been the ability to enhance one’s social or economic status in life through hard work and discipline. Sports provide an opportunity to improve social and economic status through success on the playing field. A typical example to illustrate social mobility through sport is that of football or basketball players who come from low-income families, make their way to the professional level, and sign million-dollar contracts leading them to join the upper class of society. Interestingly, within a few years of retirement 80% of former NFL players and 60% of former NBA players are broke (Coakley, 2016).
With this in mind, and based on your sports interests and career goals, research this phenomenon and discuss how this can happen to high profile athletes. What can athletes do during their playing careers to prevent this occurrence? What role do players’ families, agents, “entourages” and “posses,” or others play in millionaire athletes going broke? Use specific examples as needed.
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