This week, I was shocked to hear the news that Jharal Yow Yeh was retiring from the NRL.
Apart from the fact that I will no longer be able to cheer ‘Yipee Yow Yeh’ whenever he scores a try, I am genuinely saddened that we have lost an extremely capable and talented young footballer.
As far as bud luck goes in respect of injury Yow Yeh has had his fair share. In Round 4 of the 2012 NRL season, while playing fullback for the Brisbane Broncos, Yow Yeh broke his ankle. Broke isn’t really adequate to describe the extent of the injury with the bone penetrating the skin and Yow Yeh having to spend two months in hospital.
Despite the odds, Yow Yeh fought his way back and was back in training. However, while his body was ready to play football, he perhaps was no longer in the frame of mind.
Once he made the admission it became a lot easier for Yow Yeh to make the decision to retire from professional football.
This must have been a tremendously difficult decision for someone with such talent and for someone who had harboured a life long dream to play football.
Hearing Yow Yeh make the incredibly difficult decision to retire made me consider a debate which often pops up when we discuss professional sport.
Are our athletes being paid too much money?
Yow Yeh’s story, I feel, is a very good example of why I think players aren’t paid too much money and why, when the opportunity presents itself, players absolutely need to maximise their earning potential.
When you consider the risk of injury players face every time they take the field – a career can end in an instant, meaning the earning capacity of players is dramatically reduced or ended. Players need to maximise their earning potential for as long as possible.
People that argue that players are earning far too much, I feel are often short sighted and do not look at the whole picture. The players used to justify this argument are players like Cameron Smith, Jarryd Hayne and Greg Inglis. What fans fail to understand is that these players are the most elite players in our game and are compensated accordingly. The vast majority of players are not paid an amount even close to what these men earn. The example I always like to use is one of my favourite unsung heroes, Todd Lowrie – who would not nearly be on as much coin as players like Jarryd Hayne.
We still live in an era where fans love loyalty. However, it is difficult to be loyal in an environment where clubs are constantly under salary cap pressure and under pressure to win at all costs.
Players need to make the most of their earning prowess while they can, because they never know when their sporting ability might get snatched away.
Ladies who League
P.S. We truly wish Jharal all the best for his future. Thank you for being such a sensational NRL player. We will truly miss you.
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