Coronavirus shut down the biggest sports organizations in America yesterday. While millions of fans are disappointed that they won’t get to see their favorite athletes compete for championships, the effect it has on the people who depend on these events to feed their families is far more.
Employees at arenas all across the country will be losing out on God-knows-how-many desperately needed paychecks and the financial toll that could have them is potentially devastating.
Cavs baller Kevin Love is empathetic enough to recognize that he and many of his millionaire colleagues will be just fine, but those they work with might not be. He took to Instagram to drop the following message.
New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williams, who was not even able to play a full NBA season due to injury and then the NBA coronavirus stoppage, also pledged to financially support workers at the Smoothie King Center.
Detroit PIstons player Blake Griffin also pledged $100K to the workers at Auburn Hills.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo offered $100K to the staff at Fiserv Forum.
Other teams and players pledging to assist arena workers, which include security guards, ticket takers, cleaning and crew, are the Golden State Warriors who pledged a combined $1M from players, coaches and owners.
In the Warriors release, Curry said “The men and women who work our games at Chase Center are critical in providing an incredible game-night experience for our fans, including of course, the popcorn vendors.” Curry is known for his love of popcorn. “As players, we wanted to do something, along with our ownership and coaches, to help ease the pain during this time.”
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, who was the first NBA players infected with the coronavirus, spurring the league to shut down, will donate $200,000 to an employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena where the Jazz play.
He says he is also donating $100,000 to another coronavirus agency in Utah and in Oklahoma City plus $100K euros to an agency in his native France.Gobert, who was criticized for touching mics and other teammates playfully before he knew he was infected, released a statement that said:I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted. These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks are among the other NBA teams who are donating money. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban may have influenced the outpouring of NBA generosity as he was the first to commit to financial assistance to arena workers.