Unlike Politicians, Athletes Showcase Proven Performance, Market Values

With the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence, a quarterback out of Clemson. Lawrence boasted a winning percentage of .944, completed 66.6 percent of his passes and accounted for 90 touchdowns with only 17 interceptions.

With the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase out of Louisiana State. In 2019 Chase had 84 catches for 1,780 yards, and 20 touchdowns, and was a member of LSU’s national championship team. 

With the twentieth pick in the 2021 draft, the New York Giants selected Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney. He runs 40 yards in 4.41 seconds and his vertical jump is 40 inches. That athletic ability helped Toney haul in 120 receptions for 1590 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

As with all the college draftees, these were verifiable facts, not claims. Pro teams drafted the players on their skills and proven performance, not because their father owned the team or the stadium. The players earn salaries well into the millions because millions of people are willing to pay to watch them. Should the players prove a bust, their exit from the league will not be long delayed. 

Once in the NFL, players work tirelessly to improve their performance. Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald reportedly practices catching balls while hanging upside down. That enhances his ability to catch balls under game conditions. These realities mark a stark contrast with politicians. 

As the Bushes and Clintons confirm, family connections can gain a spot on the political squad. Much of what happens in politics goes on in secret, with backroom deals and little accountability. Politicians’ salaries are not based on the willingness of people to watch them. 

Few if any politicians undertake extraordinary measures to improve their performance and enhance the freedom and prosperity of the people. Many politicians prefer to impose their own agenda, regardless of the costs to the people. 

Football players sometimes commit foolish penalties but the game does not continue until the referee marks off the yardage. By contrast, politicians can plagiarize speeches, indulge fathomless waste, fake their identity, make false claims about military service, and continue to hold office as though nothing happened. When it comes to proven performance, accountability, and market values, athletes are the clear winners and it’s not even close.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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