Faced with the financial hardships that will follow the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils decided to institute pay cuts to salaried employees of up to 20%, but after overwhelming negative response to the decision, the ownership group for both teams reconsidered.
“Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all employees working through this very difficult situation. As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a 20% pay cut while preserving everyone’s full benefits — and keeping our 1500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season,” Josh Harris of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment said in a statement. “After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries. This is an extraordinary time in our world — unlike any most of us have ever lived through before — and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment.
“To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong.”
Coaches and executives under contract also were reportedly asked to take pay cuts before the reversal.
The decision came Tuesday after star 76ers center Joel Embiid pledged $500,000 to COVID-19 medical relief while committing to helping employees affected by the pay cuts.
“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,” Embiid tweeted. “Let’s be responsible and Trust the Process!!”