Tennis Australian in the crossfire over ballkid payout controversy. As reported by the New York Post, controversy erupted when it was discovered that ballkids are not being paid for their services. In comparison to the Australian Open, working kids at the US Open are paid $15 an hour while at Wimbledon they get a flat rate of $242 a week.
Social media users were stunned to discover that instead of receiving payment, ballkids instead receive freebies and the experience of being part of a system like the Australian Open. As explained by the NY Post, approximately 2,500 children apply to become ballkids each year, of which less than one in five are actually successful.
Those who make the cut then work under the rigorous conditions and scorching weather that Melbourne presents in January. Recall that the tournament features the prize pool offered to the best players in the world was the largest ever in Australia: $52.7 million was on the table for participants, up 3.4% from 2022.
Payment controversy over ballkid: Tennis Australia in the crossfire!
On Reddit, users ask: “How come this isn’t child exploitation? It’s not unreasonable to suggest that dancers get paid for their time. It’s the sports version of artists who get paid for exposure.” But also: “Volunteering can be problematic when there is an implied pressure or coercion to do work voluntarily, producing profits for an organization that the individual cannot share.” And also: “There is no implicit pressure on kids to work for free.
Nobody needs to be a ballkid at the Australian Open for exposure or career purposes. Kids jump at the chance because it’s a fantastic opportunity: here there is no exploitation, go ahead!” Journalist Justin Smith said on Channel 7: “Are we in a Dickens novel or something? Come on.
Pay the kids. I’m shocked they haven’t paid them. it’s, really, devaluing them.” Amanda Rose added: “Basically, I think it conditions young children that the experience is worth more than getting paid. For girls in particular, I think it’s really important to say, no, we’re worth this money.
It’s not a charity event. You don’t want them to go to work in their 20s and be told it’s for the experience, and they don’t get paid. So they should get paid.”
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