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Joel Embiid reacts to Sixers ownership ‘doing a 180’ on staff pay cuts

Sixers, Joel Embiid

The ownership group behind the Philadelphia 76ers (and the New Jersey Devils) reversed course on their initial decision to subject their employees to temporary pay-cuts as business halts due to the coronavirus pandemic, and center Joel Embiid is “proud of the Sixers organization” for “‘doing a 180′”.

Initially, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment—helmed by Josh Harris and CEO Scott O’Neil—announced plans to slash pay for salaried staff by 20% and invoke four-day workweeks during the COVID-19 crisis—measures the group said was necessary to avoid layoffs during the indefinite period of inactivity. Players were not affected.

The decision was met with expected backlash. As Tom Ziller pointed out, “The Sixers have about 500 employees. If they made an average salary of $75,000, Harris and Blitzer are saving about $625,000 a month in expenses from this 20% cut.” Harris and O’Neill are worth about $5 billion combined.

On Tuesday, the group reversed course and announced they will be paying their employees full amounts during the hiatus. “After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries…To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong,” Harris said in a statement.

After the initial announcement of the pay cuts, Embiid pledged $500,000 for medical relief and planned to financially support Sixers employees.