This is an unprecedented time. It calls for unprecedented action. A sign of that new world for the good was reported on by Geoff Calkins of the Daily Memphian Friday night.
Robert Pera, the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, will be compensating game night employees for any missed games through the end of the year.
Pera decided this as soon as the season was suspended but is not really the type to send out a press release. Grizzlies will compensate the folks who work for them for all games missed in March. And then, if more games are missed in April, they’ll compensate them for those, too.— Geoff Calkins (@geoff_calkins) March 13, 2020
This report comes after a mounting hope from NBA fans that the owners of all 30 NBA franchises would do this for those people impacted by the suspension of the season in terms of game night work. Other franchises such as the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers have committed to paying hourly employees in their organizations, and NBA players like Zion Williamson and Kevin Love made it known on social media that they will be paying parts of, or entire amounts, of the money these folks would have made if the games were being played.
As Geoff alludes to, it has never really been the style of Grizzlies owner Robert Pera to bring attention to himself. Pera is as low key an owner as there is in professional sports, coming and going in near silence aside from a tweet from a media member that notices his presence when he is at a game. Make no mistake, though - Pera is engaged in the franchise and has played a role in the team’s successful rebuild. He’s a part of the community, and understands how much the loss of home Grizzlies contests will impact the city and its inhabitants, especially those employed by him.
It is easy to focus on just the fact that our favorite sports or teams are not going on right now, and feel sorry for ourselves about that. But the ripple effect of our new (temporary, we all hope) reality is felt by folks whose work was connected to these games and events that have all of a sudden been removed from the calendar. From bars and restaurants to casinos and in-arena staff, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will hurt folks across all cities and the world at large for quite some time.
The acts of kindness and respect for our fellow humans will also be felt, however. This is just one example. Good on Robert Pera and the Memphis Grizzlies for looking out for folks in their organization that are a part of the success of the franchise in a different way, making sure that they aren’t left behind.
We need to have grace and empathy for one another now more than ever. And help wherever we can.