SBD/June 1, 2011/Franchises

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 82: Packers May Join Others In Imposing Pay Cuts

Murphy could be one of several high-level officials to take pay cut
The Packers have not imposed pay cuts or furloughs since the lockout began nearly three months ago, but team President & CEO Mark Murphy on Friday revealed that he "hasn’t ruled out that possibility if the labor dispute drags on," according to Mike Vandermause of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. The Packers could "withhold pay from selected employees," including Murphy, GM Ted Thompson, coach Mike McCarthy, assistant coaches and "other high-level directors." Murphy said, "It's based on when we're going to start missing revenue." He added that the lockout "has had only a small financial impact on the Packers, primarily involving sponsorships." Vandermause noted "about three-fourths of the NFL’s 32 teams have imposed some sort of pay reduction" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 5/28). Steelers LB Larry Foote called the pay cuts and furloughs "ridiculous" and said, "We all know through this lockout owners aren't losing money, they're making money. They pay us $1,000 a week just to work out. Roster bonuses haven't been paid." He added, "To lay people off to save money. I don't know who they're trying to fool. How the heck are they laying people off? I don't get that part. That ain't right right there. That's affecting people's lives; they're not making millions of dollars, many of them are going check to check" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 5/29).

TAKING THE WRONG APPROACH: ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski wrote owners such as the Dolphins' Stephen Ross, who has reduced staff salaries during the lockout, "don't get it." Wojciechowski: They endorse a strategy that guarantees a lockout but fail to understand the financial trickle-down effects it has on the worker bees of the organization" (ESPN.com, 5/29). In Boston, Greg Bedard wrote the decision by some teams to cut pay and institute furloughs "deserves no patience from the public." The trend is "becoming more widespread by the day." Bedard: "That this is happening in May -- before much, if any, revenue is affected by the labor impasse -- says the owners expect the lockout to last a while. At the least they want the players to think that. And that makes these workers financial hostages" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/29). Univ. of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson said, "My guess is they are not looking at this long term. One way is just sort of short term -- we need to make the payroll this month and don’t have money coming in. The other is either politically, psychologically or from a public-relations basis, it shows some suffering on the part of one side. ... Part of it is symbolic" (ESPN.com, 5/27). CNBC’s Darren Rovell said teams are laying off "more employees because they can." Rovell: "It just makes sense. It’s almost like, ‘Why do the owners charge more for tickets?’ Not because of what they’re paying the players, it’s because they feel like they can and they have an excuse” ("Washington Post Live," Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, 5/31).

MARCHING TO A DIFFERENT BEAT
: In New Orleans, Jeff Duncan noted many teams "have imposed layoffs, furloughs or salary cuts," but the Saints "have done none of the above." The team "has frozen a couple of open positions until the lockout is resolved," but otherwise, it has been "business as usual." Thanks to the lease agreement they signed with the state of Louisiana in '09, the Saints "are well-positioned to weather a protracted work stoppage." Although they "stand to potentially lose millions in game-day revenue if the lockout stretches into the season, built-in revenue streams from the Saints' leases with the state at Benson Tower will be unaffected." The lease "makes the Saints one of the most profitable clubs in the NFL" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/29).
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