When the NBA closed its doors last Thursday for a minimum 30 day hiatus, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was an issue that needed to be looked at. No, I am not talking about how fans can get their fix during the league suspension. I am talking about the vendors, ushers, security, broadcasters/camera technicians, and other personnel all left without pay during the break.
NBA players like Kevin Love, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Zion Williamson have stepped up to help pay those salaries for their respective teams for the time being. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the first owners who recognized this problem and took action to make sure his employees are paid.
The owners of the Hawks, Cavaliers, Wizards, 76ers, Nets, Rockets, Blazers, Lakers, and Clippers have all followed suit. That is only just a third of NBA owners to take steps. Only 10 out of 30 teams are officially looking at taking care of employees. Other teams will eventually and inevitably join in.
It’s not good enough. The league and team owners should have made this a priority from the beginning. After all, they worked very quickly and steadfastly to protect their players. Part time arena staff should not have been left in the dark to worry about how they would feed or keep a roof over their families heads.
It should never have taken fans voicing their concerns on social media or staff having to raise their hands in the back of room, and let it be known how concerned they are, that they are being forgotten. They shouldn’t have to consider putting up go fund me pages to make it through this. It shouldn’t have taken players coming out one at a time to shoulder the bill. Though it is admirable and good on the heart to see.
Yes, this is unprecedented. The NBA like the most of us, was woefully unprepared for this. This needs to be looked at and corrected. The league and team owners need to get together and work this out, so if heaven forbid something of this nature happens again, causing the league to suddenly shut down, there is a plan in place. This is more than about basketball or sports. This is about the people behind it that we take for granted. Let’s make sure they are taken care of too.