Professional sports paying their employees

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Photo: (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Tanner Peterson, Sports Editor

With professional sports all across the country closed down, the staff of arenas and teams have been put out of a job. Players and owners almost immediately took action to try and counteract the shutdown.

Mark Cuban was the first to look into it and was outspoken in his efforts. He said, “There’s issues of payroll taxes. Do you pay the payroll taxes if they don’t work? There’s issues of, ‘What happens if the games are actually played in the future? Do we pay them twice?’ I personally don’t care. That’s fine.”

This all comes after Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player and high profile athlete in the U.S. to test positive. He worked to do his part by donating 500k to relief of coronavirus, including 200k to the arena workers for the Utah Jazz.

However, Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment stated that the money donated by Gobert will not be distributed to the arena employees, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, and they haven’t announced how they’ll use it yet. Many were surprised and disappointed by that decision.

The president of the Utah Jazz and LHMSE, Jim Olson, stated, “We are closely monitoring the impact the coronavirus is having in our community and on our businesses. We are having deliberate discussions on the best way to support our part-time employees across Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment who are being negatively impacted.”

Players across the league are also donating to their teams including Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans who paid for the entire arena staffs salary for most of March and April. Donovan Mitchell took a different route from a regular donation and decided to help provide lunches for over 10,000 students in the Granite school district.     

Almost all of the teams in the NBA have come up with plans to pay their employees, while most are being hesitant to give full salary due to the sinking economy. Without the income that fans bring to the games, there isn’t enough extra money to fully compensate employees.

Without a league-wide plan the professional sports organizations will be on a team by team basis. All hope is for the season to return soon and the employees will be able to earn what they need to survive in the recession.