In class, we discussed professionalism and what jobs are considered professional. One job that gets to own professionalism is professional athletes. They get to use professional as their title. However, are they really professional? The definition of professionalism from our lecture is “an occupational grouping that has the sole authority to recruit, train and supervise its own members.” Under this definition professional athletes are not all that professional. They do train, but they do not do their own recruiting, and their job is not to supervise. So why do we consider them professional? We consider them professional because they get paid more than the average household income, they have professional training, they have sponsorships, and they are a step above amateurism. They certainly do not work a nine to five job, they do not dress in business attire, and though they do get recruited themselves but athletes do not do the actual recruiting.
In the reading, The Dynamics of Modern Sport: Notes on Achievement-Striving and the Social Significance of Sporty, Dunning defines professionalism in sports as getting paid and not getting paid. He also discusses how athletes that are professional do not necessarily play for themselves, but more for the fans. He says that amateur athletes play for the enjoyment, and for themselves. In my opinion, professional athletes do not meet the political definition of professionalism we discussed in class. It falls more under Dunning’s own definition of professionalism. Professional athletes do not meet the same criteria as doctors, lawyers, or teachers. However, professional athletes are in the public eye, always being watched so they are held to a professional level. They are considered role models for little kids. There are professional athletes that do not always make professional decisions. For example, Michael Phelps has now two DUI’s and has been pictured smoking marijuana. These are things you would not suspect a professional to do or to have on their record. You expect professionals to not even have a record or have that type of negative publicity.
A lot of people determine whether a job is professional or by if it is white-collar or blue-collar. According the business dictionary, white-collar, “refers to employees whose job entails, largely or entirely, mental or clerical work, such as in an office. The term white-collar work used to characterize non-manual workers, but now it refers to employees or professionals whose work is knowledge intensive, non-routine, and unstructured. “ Also according to the business dictionary, blue-collar is defined, “refers to employees whose job entails (largely or entirely) physical labor, such as in a factory or workshop. For a piece of work to be termed blue-collar, it should be directly related to the output generated by the firm, and its end result should be identifiable or tangible.” A professional athlete does not fit into either of these definitions. They certainly do not work in an office and certainly do not do manual labor. So I ask you this, are professional athletes really professional?