Athletes must weigh risks vs. rewards

When you measure the risk versus the rewards of the price that ultimately must be paid by all athletes to compete, sometimes that sacrifice is overlooked or forgotten. Somehow a love for competing takes over and athletes, regardless of the sport or competition, don’t even consider some of the risk they take on to play a game.

X Games 2017 (Chris Juhn/MSR News)

The X Games were created by ESPN, and so many of the events that the athletes compete in require them to challenge themselves in ways where you sometimes scratch your head saying to yourself, “No way can I do that or no way I would even try.”

Over 100,000 fans poured into U.S. Bank Stadium over the last week. You seldom hear about the injuries, but believe me, they happen.

A motorcyclist at this year’s X Games at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis (Chris Juhn/MSR News)

Just two weeks ago in one week of NBA free agency, NBA team owners signed off on over one billion guaranteed dollars in salaries to NBA players. In the NFL we have for years been hearing about the horrors of many players battling daily headaches related to concussions that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.

Many parents today, particularly mothers, are directing their sons away from football. Hockey, like football, is so much faster today. The game itself requires a lot of physical contact, and because athletes are bigger and faster the collisions that ultimately take place sometimes put many athletes in danger of injury.

One thing is certain: Regardless if it’s baseball, football, basketball, hockey or soccer, the risk of injury cannot be ignored. The physical and mental demands are always there. Sports leagues and their unions have worked harder together in recent years to protect and do what is required to look closer at their athletes and players.

(MGN Online)

Then there’s boxing. On August 26 Floyd Mayweather, Jr and Irish UFC sensation Conor McGregor will battle in Las Vegas in one of the biggest fights in boxing history. Never has there ever been a fight like this.

Mayweather, after being retired, is coming back for another big payday. The unbeaten 49-0 champion is a convicted domestic abuser who spent some time in prison back in 2010 because of it. He was sent to jail because he battered his woman, Miss Josie Harris, the mother to three of his children. His 10-year-old son Koraun was witness to it and told police.

Since this fight was signed on, McGregor, the cocky, arrogant UFC champion, has verbally badgered Mayweather on his history of domestic abuse. When these two get into the ring, based on their history anything can happen. That in itself makes boxing, and particularly this fight, so barbaric.

Both men are confidently stoking the fire using vulgar verbal threats in pre-fight promotional tours to antagonize each other. And, of course, the millions of fans thirsty for this battle will pay $100 each to see the fight on pay per view. This is the ultimate example of risk versus reward.


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit