Philadelphia 76ers ownership made a truly terrible decision to cut the salaries of their full-time employees by 20 percent amid the coronavirus pandemic. As you’d expect, this was met with a great deal of anger on social media from Sixers fans and NBA fans alike. Businesses need to do their best to stand by employees in unprecedented times like this. And billionaire owners certainly shouldn’t be looking to save a bit of cash for themselves at the expense of people who need their full income to get by.
Now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported a positive update, that the Sixers have decided to completely change course again and will be paying employees their full salaries.
76ers ownership is planning to change course, pulling back on salary reductions for staff, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 24, 2020
Sixers owner Josh Harris issued a statement that said the following:
Josh Harris's statement on now paying employees their full salaries, as first reported by @wojespn, now outside of the Notes app. pic.twitter.com/Gm67t4jna4— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) March 24, 2020
This change of course came within a couple of hours of news that Joel Embiid is pledging $500,000 to help COVID-19 medical relief and Sixers employees suffering reductions in their pay. It’s an amazing gesture by Embiid, but he shouldn’t have been required to step up and help the employees of his organization because ownership didn’t care.
Embiid shared his appreciation once news broke that the Sixers were changing their decision.
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
If the owners actually cared, they’d have decided to keep paying everyone their full salaries to begin with. It shouldn’t take star players making donations in their place and a PR disaster to make billionaire owners support their employees.
Nevertheless, this is a nice reminder that sharing your opinion can make a real difference. The strong response to the Sixers’ original decision — including Embiid so generously stepping in — changed owners’ minds in a hurry, and many people are going to get the full salaries they need because of it.