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Joel Embiid to pledge $500K to COVID-19 medical relief; committed to helping Sixers employees

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA season is still postponed with no commencement in sight. But that hasn’t stopped Joel Embiid from stepping up and representing his city. The superstar originally from Cameroon has decided to pledge $500K to COVID-19 medical relief and to help survival and protection efforts in the community, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. She adds that Embiid is also “committed to helping Sixers employees who will suffer financial hardship in light of the franchise’s salary reductions.”

Yesterday it was reported that the Sixers would be temporarily reducing salaries for employees starting next month. Here, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice, was a statement from HBSE CEO Scott O’Neil:

As our Sean Kennedy wrote in that piece linked above “Still, does it look great for the organization from a public relations standpoint? No, it does not.”

And it looks even less great from a PR standpoint now that the team’s biggest star takes it upon himself to try to reduce a burden implemented by owners far wealthier than Embiid.

The perception that owners with multibillions of dollars are telling some hard working employees to take less money while the team’s players may be stepping up to help them has appeared to unite segments of the Sixersphere whom otherwise never seem to agree on anything.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, members of the coaching staff and front office under contract have until Thursday to “volunteer” to take a pay cut. Being asked to give money back to bosses who need it less than you do, during a time of global crisis, seems like the type of decision one only makes if he or she feels they’ll be fired if they don’t:

The Sixers PR team has their work cut out for them today with criticism seemingly ubiquitous around Twitter and major media outlets. But Embiid’s generosity and sensitivity to the times is the biggest story here and should not be overlooked. The Sixers are very lucky to have him for many reasons stemming well beyond the hardwood. As WIP’s Howard Eskin said, great job JoJo.

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