Philadelphia 76ers' owner Josh Harris reversed course Tuesday, after announcing that ownership would be cutting pay for staffers employed by the organization. After the decision was met with widespread backlash, Harris released a statement, which was tweeted by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
"After listening to our staff and players, it's clear that was the wrong decision," Harris wrote. "We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salary."
ESPN first reported that the sports and entertainment ownership group led by Harris notified its employees that they will face a temporary 20% cut in pay. The group—which owns the Sixers and the NHL's New Jersey Devils—also planned to move forward with a four-day work week, as the country scrambles to combat the coronavirus.
"As we navigate this evolving COVID-19 environment, we are mindful of the long-term impact the suspension of live events and games will have on our organization and industry," Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment CEO Scott O'Neil said in an early statement to employees. "To ensure we can continue to support and operate our businesses during these uncertain times without reducing our workforce, we are asking our full-time, salaried employees to temporarily reduce their pay by up to 20 percent and move to a four-day week."
Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, only "at-will" employees that make over $50,000 would have been required to accept the pay cut. The rest of the employees were given a Thursday deadline to volunteer to adhere to the changes.
As we pointed out earlier, Harris' move didn't sit well with the organization and outside observers. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Sixers partner, Michael Rubin, was reportedly "outraged" by Harris and the team's decision to temporarily cut wages.
The outcry was also magnified after Joel Embiid, who makes considerably less than the 3.7 billion that Harris is worth—took it upon themselves to help supplement workers' wages.
As the backlash heightened, Woj reported that other NBA teams were monitoring the situation in order to decide their best courses of action. Meanwhile, teams like the Dallas Mavericks are implementing plans to continue to pay hourly wages while the season is on pause.