January’s not even done yet but already 2007 is shaping up as the year Brothers Get Paid! Sure, black men have been making money in sports for more than a minute. But typically it’s been their their brawn not their brains. Slowly, but most assuredly, that’s changing.
This week, Mets manager Willie Randolph signed a new three year deal that his agent, Ron Shapiro, said will pay his client $1.4 million this year and $1.8 million in 2008. Throw out Joe Torre‘s $5 million check and that’s about mid-range for baseball managers in high-market cities like Boston and Chicago.
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is the lowest-paid coach in the NFL with a salary of $1.35 million. There are assistant coaches who make twice that amount. But Lovie’ll soon get his cheese. He’s going into the third year of his original four-year deal and with rumors (unsubstantiated, the Bears say) swirling that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might swoop in and try to lure Lovie to D-town, Chicago will probably lock-in Lovie with a long-term before the never-ending Super Bowl telecast goes off the air. Keep this figure in mind: Mike Holmgren, who led Seattle to the Super Bowl last season, makes $8 mil a year. Pay the man.
But this is the one I love: My journalistic colleague Michael Wilbon reported just signed a four-year, $8 million deal with Disney, which owns ABC Sports and ESPN, where Wilbon is becoming a fixture beyond his regular “PTI” gig. The deal is so big he reportedly went to the editors of the Washington Post, where he’s written a column for decades, and offered to resign if they no longer wanted him in the newspaper. They are said to have declined his offer.
None of us went into journalism to get rich. Now, at least a few of us can. Congrats, Mike.