Dwyane Wade on Olympics

“It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell,” Wade said after the Heat’s practice on Wednesday. “We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated. Just like I think college players should be compensated as well. Unfortunately, it’s not there. But I think it should be something, you know, there for it.”

Wade later used Twitter, however, to clarify his comments: “What I was referencing is there is a lot of Olympic business that happens that athletes are not a part of – and it’s a complicated issue.” He added: “BUT my love 4 the game & pride 4 USA motivates me more than any $$$ amount. I repped my country in 2004 when we won the bronze medal and stood proudly to receive our gold medal in 2008 in Beijing. It’s always been an honor for me to be a part of the USA Olympic family…and I’m looking forward to doing it again in London this summer.”

Fun Fact: The U.S. Olympic Committee pays out $25,000 for gold medals, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.

Here’s what I have to say- I don’t think athletes should get paid necessarily to play in the Olympics, but if an injury does occur during Olympic play, the athlete’s remaining contract should get paid out in full. If Wade goes over to London, and while “representing his team”, sustains a career ending injury, who’s responsible for all the lost salary money and endorsements? So, yeah, I’m all for some sort of financial incentive connected with the Olympics. The player’s team might want a piece of this too. If a star goes down during Olympic play, who’s going to console the team he plays 82 games for?

Just to clarify, that does not mean an athlete gets paid to represent his/her country (the incentive to play and win should come from the pride in representing one’s country), but rather some financial security system is in place in case the athlete does sustain an injury which affects their career.

I won’t even get into all the merchandise and marketing related income either. Like Rohan Bhatia says, “global NCAA baby … bam”. Couldn’t have said it any better.

What do you think? Are there any circumstances where money can enter the Olympic arena? … Or should even the risk of injury be tied to pride and patriotism?