The sports and entertainment group that owns both the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils has made an announcement in which they notified their teams that all full-time employees and players who are making a set salary will be subject to temporary pay cuts and will be moving to a four-day work week as a result of the coronavirus. The pay cuts will reach up to 20%, and is likely to last into April, when the NBA season is currently projected to start up again.
“As we navigate this evolving COVID-19 environment, we are mindful of the long-term impact the suspension of live events and games will have on our organization and industry. To ensure we can continue to support and operate our businesses during these uncertain times without reducing our workforce, we are asking our full-time, salaried employees to temporarily reduce their pay by up to 20 percent and move to a four-day week,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns both teams, in a statement sent to the employees.
All full-time employees making an annual salary of $50,000 or more will face a pay cut up to 20%, however, cuts that high are only likely to affect individuals making $70,000 or more, according to ESPN. Front-office employees are likely to face cuts to their paychecks as well in the coming weeks, all of it is in an effort to give back to the communities of these teams while they cope with the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment also announced they would be partnering with non-profit organizations in Philadelphia, Camden, and Newark as a means of assisting residents who are suffering from a lack of food and resources due to the excessive amount of panic buying that’s been occurring within the past few weeks. It plans to fund these organizations with the money they’re gaining from the pay cuts.
The NBA predicts all players and employees working behind-the-scenes will be receiving their normal full salaries on April 1st if all goes as planned. However, the league is still unsure as to how concrete of a timeline that actually is. NBA policy states that the company is allowed to withhold 1/93rd of a player’s seasonal salary per canceled game based on “catastrophic circumstances.” These specific circumstances include that of war, natural disasters, or epidemic/pandemics. This policy is what allows groups like Harry Blitzer to make charitable contributions to those who aren’t lucky enough to have a large salary.
As previously stated, many professionals working within the NBA predict by mid-April, things will begin to shift back towards normalcy. At this rate, many are keeping their expectations low, as we really don’t know what the world’s going to look like in a month. One of the most notable figureheads and NBA team owner, Mark Cuban, however is remaining hopeful regarding all of it.
“Hopefully by the middle of May, we’re starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games. Maybe not with fans, but we’re playing it because sports play such an important role. You know, people want something to cheer for, people want something to rally around, people want something to be excited about,” Cuban said.
A COVID-19 vaccine is the only real way that things like sports games and concerts will be able to resume in their entirety. Both the government and big businesses throughout the country are hoping within two months, enough of the virus has been contained and controlled to find a feasible treatment or vaccine, there’s just no possible way of knowing that yet. For now, the NBA’s contribution to its community does not go unrecognized, and hopefully more major industries throughout the world follow suit in helping and supporting their community during this time of panic.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.