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As sports arena across the country sit empty, two teams sharing a billionaire owner are asking their more secure employees to help absorb the financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic.
Employees of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils making more than $50,000 per year were informed Monday of temporary pay cuts of up to 20 percent, according to The New York Times’ Marc Stein. The cuts will run from April 15 to the end of June.
The Sixers and Devils are principally owned by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which is helmed by Joshua Harris, a man worth $3.7 billion according to Forbes.
Scott O’Neil, the CEO of Harris’ ownership group, confirmed the report to Stein.
Among the employees who will take the cut are O’Neil Sixers general manager Elton Brand, Devils president Jake Reynolds and Sixers president Chris Heck, per Stein.
Stein also reports that the teams’ aim with the move is to avoid layoffs, and that no health or 401(k) benefits have yet been reduced.
Players won’t experience cuts, at least for now
An important note is that teams’ players do not fall in the same category as the employees experiencing pay cuts, but that doesn’t mean they will lose income soon.
The National Basketball Players Association has already warned players that their pay could be reduced in the event the rest of the NBA season is called off due to the coronavirus. That is thanks to a “Force Majeure” clause in the collective bargaining agreement that spells out a team’s obligations in emergency situations.
The NBA has not promised to not use the clause if the coronavirus pandemic continues into the summer.
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