Now that many U.S. states have issued guidances recommending against any gathering greater than 250, fifty, or even ten people, of course the industries reliant on massive crowds are suffering.
For instance, the NBA suspended its 2019-2020 season as of March 11th, with no date set to recommence this year. 65 of the 82 games have already been played, but that’s still 15 games lost. For the team owners, it’s a major and irritating inconvenience. But for the thousands and thousands of employees lower down the pole, the concession staff, ushers, and custodians, it’s a catastrophic loss of wages.
In response to this on March 12th, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love announced on Instagram that he’d be donating $100,000 to support the staff in his team’s home arena.
“Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels…” he said in his Instagram. “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.”
He was swiftly joined by other players. Piston’s forward Blake Griffen matched, with his $100,000 going to the staff at Detroit’s Little Ceasars Arena. Zion Williamson, rookie for the New Orleans Pelicans pledged to cover the salaries of all workers at his home stadium for 30 days, if they needed it.
By March 13th, an owner joined the giving – The Golden State Warriors as a unit – owners, players, and coaches – pledged $1 million to a relief fund for the employees of their own Chase Center.
“These are the folks who make our games possible,” said Williamson on Instagram, summing up just how much every professional athlete, every coach, and every team owner owes to these people.