PHILADELPHIA - The Sixers organization is reversing initial plans to reduce salaries for its staff after immediate backlash to the Monday's announcement.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment founder Josh Harris now says that the Sixers will no longer be cutting up to 20 percent of the pay for full-time, salaried employees Tuesday.
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It was previously announced in a statement by Scott O'Neil, CEO of HBSE, that both the NBA team and the New Jersey Devils planned to make the temporary pay cuts and reduce the work week to four days amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
In a new statement, Josh Harris wrote:
"Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working through this very difficult situation. As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a temporary 20% pay cut while preserving everyone’s full benefits -- and keeping our 1500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season. After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries. This is an extraordinary time in our world - unlike any most of us have ever lived through before - and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment. To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong."
With large portions of the population facing layoffs, out of work, or even collecting unemployment, the Sixers were heavily criticized for their initial decision to reduce pay and hours for their salaried staff.
Prior to the reversal, All-Star center Joel Embiid announced he would be donating $500,000 to COVID-19 medical relief, and assisting members of the staff impacted by the pay cuts.
Hours after the news that Embiid had stepped in to help, Harris released the statement confirming that the HBSE had reversed their original decision and also offering an apology.
Embiid applauded the team's decision to reverse the salary cuts on Twitter.
"In these trying times, I'm proud of the Sixers organization for reversing course and 'doing a 180.' Let's focus on beating this coronavirus now. Let's be responsible and Trust the Process!!"
The NBA and NHL announced earlier in March that they were suspending their seasons due to coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, three members of the 76ers staff had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
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