Did I feel pride as a human being and citizen of this country when I saw professional athletes (and even independent companies like Obvious Shirts) pledging financial assistance to the thousands of hourly workers displaced and unemployed by COVID-19 postponed professional seasons and events? Yes. Of course. It was a wonderful gesture in each and every instance – and those in need certainly do not care where their much-needed supports comes from during times like these.
But still, there was always something that felt just off about it. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was supposed to be the billionaire owners, not the millionaire players (let alone individuals buying t-shirts online) that should be supporting stadium staff and other stadium-gig-related workers. A few owners – like Mark Cuban – spoke out in the NBA right away and a few others jumped into the chorus along the way, but I’m very pleased to share that MLB has taken a massive, generous step forward.
Jeff Passan with the good news:
NEWS: Each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams will commit $1 million to ballpark employees who would not have been paid due to the coronavirus crisis causing the postponement of the baseball season until at least mid-May. Story filed to ESPN and coming soon.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2020
“Motivated by desire to help some of the most valuable members of the baseball community, each club has committed $1 million,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement given to ESPN.
“The individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities. The timing of these announcements will vary because of the need to coordinate with state and local laws as well as collective-bargaining obligations in an effort to maximize the benefits realized by each group of employees. I am proud that our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love.”
This is an absolutely wonderful gesture from each of the league’s 30 owners – that’s $30M of support! – and I’m glad they were able to get coordinated on this quickly. These employees are the backbone of our entire Cubs fandom and Wrigley Field experience and I’m proud of Tom Ricketts for pledging his/the Cubs support.
If you’d like to contribute to that effort – and get a solid shirt out of it! – consider supporting Obvious Shirts, who are donating proceeds from this shirt to the exact same cause:
We’re raising funds to help the workers affected by the loss of games at Wrigley Field. All proceeds from the sale of this shirt will be donated to displaced hourly employees who make Wrigley the best experience in the country! Please share 🙏 LINK: https://t.co/BJ6HvNsvif pic.twitter.com/RXEp97FkuE
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) March 13, 2020