Americans keep trotting that excuse out and it is tosh. British football players make vastly more than sailors but BAR manages to put British sailors on the boat. All Blacks don't do so shabbily either at making a salary yet ETNZ puts Kiwis on the boat. Being a professional sailor versus a professional football player isn't a choice anyone gets to make. It's a choice of sport you make before you are a teenager. If you make it the centre of your life then ten or twelve years later a fraction of a percent of those who make the choice are found to have the talent to pursue it professionally at a high level.
Sports agents in the US make more than any sailor except RC LOL
Yes the brits have football and NZ has rugby .
The US has , football ( both kinds ) , hockey, baseball and basketball all of which command seven and even eight figure yearly salaries . An athlete has a lot more choices here when it comes to picking a career which does put sailing in the hobby catagory for most . Now wether or not the make the " bigs " is another issue altogether but they spend their early years striving to that goal .