One of Those Uncomfortable Moments
Seeing this story about the highest-paid American athletes on si.com reminded me of a moment some five or six years ago.
I was at a dinner the day before a funeral, organized by the widow, who was a co-worker of mine. The deceased's father was there, and I sat across from him. Despite the fact that the event was for his son, who had committed suicide, the father was jovial and charismatic. I liked him instantly. He had the warmth of a natural salesman (which he was), and he had that effect of making you think that he was really interested in what you had to say, even though he had just met you.
I don't remember what we talked about exactly, but at some point--knowing that the guy was an avid golfer--someone at the table brought up Tiger Woods. To my surprise, his demeanor soured a little, and he started talking about the outrageous salaries that pro athletes earn. I think I said something like, "But if teams are willing to pay that much, I guess the athletes are worth it by definition, so what are you going to do?" He scoffed and said, "Yeah, but you know who's getting all that money... the blacks."