As the COVID-19 epidemic forced sports leagues to stop, that has affected many hourly workers and employees needing that income. As it’s still the right call to suspend these games, there’s still the problem of so many people losing their income when bills are piling up.
Some NBA teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers are among many in the Association who have stepped in to help their employees. For other teams, like the Philadelphia 76ers, it’s taken a bit longer than others but they eventually got on board with fully paying their employees during this time.
The news came yesterday when it was reported that the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment group, who also own the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, would cut pay for full-time salaried employees making more than $50k per year with a reduction “as high as 20 percent” for those making over $70k. That’s pretty decent money and it’s a way better situation than I’m currently in, but if someone has a family, $50k per year isn’t exactly going a long way if that’s the main source of income.
Anyway, the perception from many on the outside was likely not what chairman Josh Harris expected and also reportedly caused division from within the team. Stadium’s Shams Charania reported that Sixers part-owner Michael Rubin was “upset and outraged” about the decision and was reportedly not involved in the process of making that decision. Joel Embiid pledged $500k for local medical efforts on COVID-19 as well as those people having salaries reduced.
As a result, the Sixers and Devils have reversed course and pledged to pay full salaries to staff. In a statement Harris admitted it was the wrong move and he apologized for the initial idea.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 24, 2020
Embiid showed his support to his team eventually doing the right thing by saying he was proud of the Sixers “doing a 180,” a reference to an incorrect Jeopardy! question about his nickname.
In these trying times, I’m proud of the Sixers organization for reversing course and “doing a 180”. Let’s focus on beating this Coronavirus now. Let’s be responsible and Trust the Process!!
— Joel “Do a 180” Embiid??? (@JoelEmbiid) March 24, 2020
While this was a bit of a mess, Harris got to the right move at the end. It would be fashionable to still crap on him and yeah he messed up at first, but the pivot happened so quickly that no harm was done and employees are still getting paid. So let’s save the hate for someone who ends up cutting pay and instead refuses to change their decision.