I had never really thought about professional athlete salaries before, except to imagine they were all overpaid. And then I listened to a podcast where they interviewed people about a debate over football salaries.
Since football teams are so large compared with other kinds of sports, the average player will often get lower salaries unless they are a big name. They were still getting half a million dollars per year though, so I wasn't exactly crying for them, until one of them explained that the average time for a player to stay on the field was somewhere around three years. And they have no automatic health insurance, so if they break their neck in the first six months, they basically get put out to pasture without any safety net for them and their family. So I guess it doesn't exactly seem wrong for them to get paid a fair amount for that risk.