Coronavirus: How Sports Stars and Teams Are Aiding Stadium Workers Impacted by COVID-19 Outbreak
By CBS Sports
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
When the NBA made the shocking decision to halt the season amid the coronavirus outbreak, it set off a monumental chain reaction in the sports world. As the league as a whole tries to grapple with what will be a 30-day minimum break in the schedule, a lot of concern has been centered around arena staff and workers, who won't receive paychecks with games being postponed.
There isn't a uniform plan in place to compensate arena workers set by the league, but when the postponement was announced Wednesday night, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a commitment to pay all arena workers inside American Airlines Center.
While talking to reporters after the Mavericks' win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, Cuban said: "I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support, people who aren't going to be able to come to work. They get paid by the hour, and this was their source of income. So, we'll do some things there. We may ask them to go do some volunteer work in exchange, but we've already started the process of having a program in place. I don't have any details to give, but it's certainly something that's important to me."
Since Cuban made that decision, other teams and even players from across the sports world have followed suit and have announced plans to help compensate those workers who are typically paid by the hour. Here's a running list of players and teams around the league stepping up to help the arena workers in their cities.
Atlanta Hawks: Team owner Tony Ressler told Hawks CEO Steve Koonin two weeks before the league decided to go on a hiatus that "if we shut down, we have to take care of our part-time employees," as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Sarah K. Spencer.
Chicago Bulls: The Bulls announced Saturday that they would pay game-day employees through all previously scheduled Bulls and Blackhawks games.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love became the first player in the league to donate money to event staff at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse when he announced on social media that he would give $100,000 to those workers. The Cavaliers followed their star forward and announced on Twitter that they would be taking care of all hourly staff.
Dallas Mavericks: When the league announced postponement, team owner Mark Cuban wasted no time in making it clear that he would make sure all the employees who work events and games at the American Airlines Center would be paid during the hiatus.
Detroit Pistons: Blake Griffin will be donating $100,000 to the workers inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, per The Detroit News' Rod Beard.
Golden State Warriors: Warriors ownership, players and coaches will contribute $1 million to a disaster relief fund for Chase Center employees, the team announced. "The men and women who work our games at Chase Center are critical in providing an incredible game-night experience for our fans," Warriors guard Steph Curry said. "As players, we wanted to do something along with our ownership and coaches to help ease the pain during this time."
Houston Astros: Astros star George Springer joined the growing list of stars within the sports world to go into their own pockets to help others impacted by the spread of the coronavirus by pledging to donate $100,000 to Minute Maid Park employees.
Houston Rockets: Team CEO Tad Brown said that the franchise is getting a plan together to take care of all hourly workers at Toyota Center, per The Houston Chronicle's Johnathan Feigen.
Los Angeles Clippers/Lakers: The Clippers and Lakers, both tenants of the Staples Center, along with the Kings of the NHL, have finalized a deal that will work to compensate the hundreds of part-time and contract workers that typically staff Staples Center for NBA and NHL games, per Kyle Goon of the O.C. Register. The Lakers and Clippers have also told game-night employees that they will continue to compensate them through the NBA hiatus. This includes employees such as team statisticians, announcers and dance teams.
Miami Heat: The Heat are among the NBA teams in the process of figuring out how to financially assist the arena workers who will lose income because of the league's coronavirus shutdown, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
Milwaukee Bucks: Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo took to Twitter to announce that he will be donating $100,000 to workers at Fiserv Forum, saying "it's bigger than basketball."
New Orleans Pelicans: No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson, announced on his Instagram that he's pledging to cover the salaries of all workers at Smoothie King Center for the next 30 days. In the post, Williamson said, "this is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates."
Philadelphia 76ers: The hourly workers at Wells Fargo Center will be compensated during the NBA's hiatus, per NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.
Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, will donate $500,000 to various causes. Of that money, $200,000 will go to game-day employees for the Jazz, $100,000 each will go to families impacted by the virus in Utah and Oklahoma City, and 100,000 euros will go to his native France.
Washington Wizards: Team owner Ted Leonsis reportedly told Capital One Arena workers that they will be paid through March 31 for any Wizards or Capitals games they were scheduled to work, per The Athletic's Tarik El-Bashir.
Former NBA player Jeremy Lin announced that he was donating $150,000 to UNICEF to help fight the coronavirus. Lin also donated the same amount to the China Foundation.
(This story was originally published by CBS Sports on Saturday, March 14)