The outbreak of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease has wreaked havoc on the economy and the world over the last few weeks. On Wednesday night, it finally broke into the world of sports with the NBA announcing that they would be suspending play for at least the next two weeks after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the disease. While the league, the NBA Board of Governors and the NBA Player’s Association figure out what to do next, there are going to be major financial losses for organizations in the coming weeks, including the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Players on the Cavaliers roster, because of a provision in the league’s collective bargaining agreement, could face the possibility of losing 1/92.6 of their salary for every game missed. For the organization, there’s the potential of losing approximately $2.6 million to $6.4 million in ticket revenue alone depending on how long this hiatus lasts. More importantly, the arena workers, who aren’t multimillionaires, could face an even more serious financial impact from the coronavirus outbreak.
With no firm timetable on when any of the tenants of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will resume play, the workers have no idea when they could see their next paycheck. Thankfully, the Cavaliers organization is trying to develop a plan. Inspired by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Cleveland is currently developing a compensation plan to continue paying its event staff and hourly workforce as if every event were taking place.
Until that plan comes to fruition, Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love will be donating $100,000 through his foundation to support Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse employees impacted by aftershocks of the outbreak, he posted on his Instagram page Thursday evening.
“Through the game of basketball, we’ve been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work,” Love said in his Instagram post. “I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I’m committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the cancellation of the NBA season. I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities.
“Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak. It’s important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don’t feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need-whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.”
This generous and thoughtful deed by Love and the organization is a truly noble thing to do. Without the event staff and hourly workers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the events that fans get to enjoy wouldn’t be possible. Obviously, they had no idea that this would be coming so soon, so having both Love and the Cavaliers to provide relief is a blessing when it could be needed most.
Not only that, but this act by both parties also shows what matters most. During times of global crisis, like the coronavirus outbreak, people need to come together instead of being divided. Love was not obligated to donate to these workers, but he still did so because he wanted to support the community he adores. The rest of the country, and the world, should follow his example and help however they can.