For a few years, I worked for the Portland Timbers as an employee of the events staff in Providence Park. I scanned the tickets, I helped the guests in a wheelchair to sit down, I gave directions, I told some jokes here and there and I worked for a few hours a week like a small gear in a big old stadium, keeping people moving and helping everyone have a good time.
As for jobs where you don’t make enough money, it’s honestly not bad. My bosses were nice, Portland is quite temperate during the football season, listening to the game in the background is fun. Dealing with people who are happy to be somewhere, who love the game and aren’t trying to be thrown out, is much easier than trying to convince someone of anger when they can’t find something at Walmart. There are also secondary benefits; some office workers worked in the bowl and managed to watch the game for free.
But don’t get me wrong here: it’s precarious. I was working there to supplement my income as I made my way through the media, but many people who work as event staff live salaries for salary, putting together an income in a country that hasn’t taken exactly any steps to improve their lives for decades. The postponement of the NBA season throws their lives into chaos. The same goes for hourly workers who organize events during baseball games, concerts, conventions and all other large gatherings that must be postponed or canceled due to the quarantine conditions imposed during the new coronavirus pandemic. God forbid any of them to get sick; the event staff doesn’t exactly connect you with a Cadillac insurance plan.
When the Warriors announced that they would play the games without fans – a plan that didn’t happen, due to all the NBA games suspended before they had a chance – the team’s general manager, Bob Myers, speaking with the reporters gathered. , shed a few tears on behalf of the workers of the arena who would find themselves without a salary for public health reasons, then psychically shrugged, as if to say: “Damn, too bad there is nothing to do. Pay someone for not work would be immoral! ”
Myers has neglected to mention, of course, that his employers, Warriors owners and venture capital winners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, are worth an obscene amount of pasta, have just opened a new giant stadium that prints money and could easily pay their employees’ lost wages without suffering concrete material consequences. Most NBA owners have decided not to take this very generous step in the shadow of a crisis that could make their employees’ lives increasingly precarious by the day. Mark Cuban, a little bit of dirt but perpetually attuned to public relations concerns, announced that Thursday, but by other owners, the crickets.
Luckily, some players came in and rolled the ball. Cavs striker Kevin Love kicked off, pledging $ 100,000 for workers in the Cleveland arena (Cavs owner and Comic enthusiast Sans Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, is worth $ 6.8 billion ). So far he has been joined by reigning MVP and immigrant legend Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks owner Wes Edens, valued at $ 2.5 billion, has matched his generous offering, effectively put into action by a 25-year-old professional athlete) , and so far the New Orleans phenomenon Zion Williamson (the owner of pelicans Gayle Benson is worth $ 3 billion) and the Pistons striker Blake Griffin (the owner of Pistons Tom Gores is worth $ 19.5 billion) .
I don’t want to minimize the generosity of the players here. A crisis reveals who we really are and have shown that they are at least tangentially aware of the people who make what they do possible and willing to help. But this crisis has also highlighted the true faces of their employers and these are, well, miserable adventurers despite having more money than they can ever spend. On the day the NBA canceled their games, all owners should clearly have been generous enough to offer compensation to all their employees, so that they didn’t seem crazy that they consider everyone poorer than they are like a little speck that generates gold for the bank coffers they have swims in.
They are not the only billionaires to show ass, of course. Jeff Bezos, the the richest man in the world, chairs a corporate initiative at Whole Foods, Amazon’s natural food / game store, where they encourage their healthy employees to please, if you could be so kind, donate your sick days to anyone who may have COVID- 19 therefore they will not have to work and sneeze in all the product we sell, thank you.
“You will see, it would be only a violation of their deeper nature to pay out of their pocket, and only after a handful of generous players insisted on the problem by highlighting the absurdity of their clamping force.“
Twentysomething NBA stars and their colleagues shouldn’t be the bank that floats people in difficult times, but here we are. In the wake of the fairly modest generosity of these stars, the teams have started to get an idea, but you can see the tense nature of the property class. Second to The Athletic’s Shams CharaniaThe Warriors, several days after they probably should have thought about it, set up a million dollar fund for their laid-off employees. But, don’t worry, the absurdly wealthy men who own the team are not alone on this ship: the cost for the fund will be divided between players, coaches and properties, for some reason. You will see, it would be only a violation of their deeper nature to pay out of their pocket, and only after a handful of generous players insisted on the problem by highlighting the absurdity of their clamping force.
The hearts of billionaires sitting on satin thrones should flow with the generosity of Jesus Christ. They take advantage of our infrastructure, pay people as little as possible, obviously do everything possible not to pay taxes, and they should be willing, in a flash, to pay their damned workers when the whole country is in lockdown and doesn’t expect nothing in return. Just in the end they should have the self-awareness shown by Cubans and realize that anyone who knows about it will think they are monstrous.
But, I suppose, you can’t have a billion dollars having a heart full of concern for your neighbor. Capital celebrates and rewards the darker parts of our soul with its own design, gives generously to the greedy and obsessive, and billionaires are the most distorted creations in the system. You can’t just expect these people to do the right thing: it goes against their very nature. We need a government that takes them to the heel, makes them pay for everyone’s well-being, teaches them the ways they believe they are a waste of time. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the answer to a crisis is not to force the richest people in our society to do their fair share, but instead, to take the opportunity to enhance the glory of the public / private partnership, let people know to all that profits are still possible in these difficult times and let as many wealthy people get close to the microphone and talk about everything their companies will do (up to paying their fair share of taxes) to help us get out from this brine. The nature of the scorpion is well known: because, exactly, we continue to happily carry it across the pond when we can’t even worry about act like it’s bullshit when we’re drowning in disease?