On Wednesday, we pointed out that the Ravens quietly had cut employee pay by 25 percent during the lockout, with the understanding that the money would be refunded if no regular-season games are missed.
As we said at the time: “Of all the owners in the league, we would have placed Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti at the very bottom of a list of owners likely to allow their non-player employees to be caught in the crossfire of the league’s first work stoppage in 24 years. With the uncapped year allowing teams to pocket a lot of money that would have otherwise gone to player salaries and/or specific benefits that disappeared, teams could have — and should have — set aside a chunk of that money to help finance the non-player workforce during the lockout.”
Earlier today on PFT Live, I was a bit less tactful and a bit more animated regarding the decision of multiple teams to take money away from men and women who have no responsibility for the lockout. (You can click the box in the upper right corner of any PFT page to watch the show.)
Well, someone is listening. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence. (The smart money is on “coincidence.” But that won’t stop us from trying to take at least partial credit.)
A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that the Ravens have reversed course, returning the employees to full pay and refunding all withheld compensation immediately.
It’s an admirable move by Bisciotti, and we urge every other franchise to do the same thing. These employees didn’t cause this fight, and they don’t want this fight. They’re trying to pay their bills and feed their families. Every NFL team made more than enough money in 2010 to take care of their non-player employees in 2011. And if one or two teams truly can’t afford to do the right thing, then the other teams should chip in.
We realize that the NFL wants to use the lockout in order to get a favorable labor deal from the players. That doesn’t mean the so-called “shared sacrifice” should be shared by the people who gain nothing from this labor dispute — and thus should lose nothing.