Was A 49ers Furlough Necessary?

Word recently emerged (and somehow we missed it until reading Monday’s SportsBusiness Daily) that the entire front office of the 49ers has taken a furlough.  (We suppose it’s kind of like when the only store where you can buy a new suit has got the flu.)

Per Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle, at least six other NFL teams have shut down their front offices during the sssslow period of the offseason.

49ers spokesman Bob Lange confirmed the furlough to FitzGerald, but declined comment as to whether the employees were paid.

He didn’t need to comment.  If the employees were getting paid, it wouldn’t be a furlough.  It would be a vacation.

Or, more likely, they’d be working.

So are the Niners having trouble making ends meet?  Or are they merely creating the impression of money problems in order to bolster the case for a new labor agreement featuring decreased payments to players?

We don’t know and won’t know — unless and until the NFL agrees to open its books to the union.

We’ve said it before the launch of our NBC partnership and (if for no reason other than to prove that we haven’t changed) we’ll say it again:  Profitable businesses that use the cover of a “bad economy” to justify laying off or otherwise reducing employee compensation fuel the downward spiral.

Then there’s a recent comment from the guy who owns the team across the Bay.  Though the Chronicle reports that the Raiders won’t be furloughing any employees, owner Al Davis didn’t celebrate his 80th birthday with a glitzy blowout.

“[U]sually at this time of the year,
every fifth, from 75, 80,” Davis said, “I’ve held a nice party in Las Vegas but I
felt this year, predicated on the economy, that we would just whittle
it down to a few friends for dinner, and hold off because we didn’t
want to flaunt when everyone else is having trouble financially and I
thought it was best to do it that way.”

But we can’t help but wonder whether there’s a bit of the Lufthansa Heist mentality at play here.  In addition to tightening belts against still-swollen abdomens, maybe the league expressly or implicitly has made it known that overt displays of wealth should be avoided unless and until a new CBA has been finalized.

Maybe we’re wrong.  But the last time we checked the NFL was still the most popular sport in America, and if the 32 pro football franchises currently aren’t making a lot more money than they’re spending, then no one is.

23 responses to “Was A 49ers Furlough Necessary?

  1. Quote patrick ewing “sure we make alot of money, but we spend alot too.”

  2. Gotta love that front office types are told to take a furlough, but it doesn’t stop teams from signing players to huge deals. What a joke.

  3. here, here. Mikey, YOU ROCK!(tribute to the late Rosemary)
    Seriously, every walk of life is crying poverty right now. I am making a f’n killing!!! In the sense sales are not down, especially for the time of year. Why? Because A. My customers love me, and B. The customers who love me tell their friends I do a better job charging $2.25 than my competitors who charge double and more.
    Now I know at least 3 people who work for me, and 6 friends who are broke as a joke and still continue to buy season tickets to see the Cardinals(this has been going on even before we made the Super Bowl.)
    Now how the hell can the NFL cry poverty when people living in poverty are the only ones loyal enough to buy and support their product? Now I’m not a millionaire, yet, but I will never buy season tickets to any sporting event, especially the NFL. I pay $350 or whatever they’re raping me for, and I get all games played in the league, in hi-def(god bless DirecTV!) I record 4 games live on 2 hi-def DVR’s, I switch between two other hi-def games live on another one, and then I record the 30-minute version of every game broadcast aside from ESPN and NBC. I get my NFL obsession quelled for less than $500/year.
    Aside from Bud Light and DirecTV, their sponsors have no control over me. I just switch the damn channel to another game!
    Now tell me that when people who have much less money to blow than me on entertainment, keep blowing it on The National Football League!!!, how can they be going broke?
    This is the problem with corporate America. A “loss” is when you don’t make as much as you want. You still made a freaking boat load! you just didn’t make as much as you wanted. As the late Bill Maher once said, “can’t we just be good enough?”
    And then, of course, the people whose wallets are hit are the poor schmoes making $40k/year killing themselves for their love of their jobs. Why the hell doesn’t Rod Graves take a furlough? And how about the late, great, Ken Whisenhunt? Their salaries together have to equal to 1/26th of the combined salaries of at least 10 people.
    And how about all my customers who get furloughed? You think that work goes away? They’re still doing 5 days worth of work, but now they are only getting paid for 4.
    “These Economic Times…” Child Please! How the hell am I absolutely profiteering when everyone is getting drilled? BECAUSE WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS!!!!
    Some money is better than NO money. I do volume baby! It’s the Monday after a holiday, and my four stores combined got over 3k pieces today. I can almost guarantee that the 20 surrounding expensive cleaners around my 4 stores did less than half combined today. And, honestly, nothing is different than when I used to charge $5.50/pant as far as quality goes, but then again, I have ethics and I feel a loyalty to my customers who unequivocally love me.
    “These Economic Times” Bologna! they’re tough because they refuse to change with the time and give the American people what they deserve, a great product at a fair price.
    attack me now… That’s what PFT has turned into in the last few months anyways… Corporations give us jobs and what not… not to mention no benefits and a salary cap…
    “Don’t take my wealth!” but you’re not wealthy… $100k/year is not wealthy, it’s rich. “But one day, I’ll get off my ass and become wealthy, and I don’t want you to take my wealth!” You’re 50 years old… “But one day I’ll get off my ass and use my brain!” But if I don’t tax fairly, you’ll NEVER have a chance to become wealthy. “But I make $25k/year, and next year I’m buying my bosses business.” But if you make $25k/year then you can’t afford to buy a business that makes $200k/year in profit. “No, but one day, when I decide to get off my ass and do something, I will have that business making $200k/year!” But that will take at least 5 years… And When you do, you SHOULD join the anti-tax the rich line. “But in my mind I make that much now!” I give up, you’re a real BuckFutter, you know that?
    (Not attacking the people who actually work their damn asses off and don’t make $200k+/year. GOD BLESS YOU! YOU MADE THIS COUNTRY GREAT!)

  4. Non-Season ticket holders should boycott 49’er preseason games. Don’t give them walk up ticket money

  5. @Florio – So you moderate comments but you allow Eddie “The Plant” Agent to post something? I wanted to stick my finger down my throat in the first sentence.

  6. I work for a Fortune 100 company that will still be reporting Billions in profits this year, and we’ve laid off not just hourly production people (not enough demand to run more shifts so this makes sense), but also 1000’s of people with white collar jobs.
    It’s not about turning any profit, it’s about turning as much as possible regardless of anything else. Iincreasing shareholder value, and making sure we can pay our dividend every quarter. They also stopped our 401K matching and froze wages this year just because everyone else is. I completely agree with you Florio, it’s pretty disgusting.

  7. Can you guys add the “wide screen” view feature please? PFT is so cramped!
    I don’t know, the old layout was just a lot easier on the eyes………

  8. Eddie says “poor schmoes making $40k/year”
    You are probably one of them, I dont care how much you make or how little you make you don’t need to sit there and think you are a big tough guy who is rich and can brag about your riches over the INTERNET?. Congratulations Eddie Drycleaner you are one bad apple who is full of it.

  9. Damn Eddie…I actually read all of that…that’s a few minutes of my life i’ll never get back.

  10. NDCowboysfan says:
    July 6, 2009 10:21 PM
    they’re still a terrible team
    atleast we have a playoff win since ’96, smart ass

  11. What’s wrong with having a Furlough?
    If the jobs are still intact, then it’s probably fine to actually get some time off work. (And yes, not get paid for doing nothing.) Nothing wrong with not getting paid for a week as long as there is actual employment on a full-time basis.

  12. Thanks Eddie……man I love posts like his they’re great because they remind me that “there is always a bigger idiot then the last biggest idiot i’ve ever heard of”..now stay down in mommy’s basement and keep pretending your a businessman and do ALL of us a favor and …STFU

  13. What got lost in all of the comments is that Florio managed to reference both My Cousin Vinny and Goodfellas in the same article… Bravo….!
    P.S. The 49ers are one of the biggest dirtbag franchises out there so this should surprise nobody…!

  14. “atleast we have a playoff win since ’96, smart ass”
    But you haven’t had a winning season since 2002 (and two winning seasons out of the last ten), and the NFCW is probably THE weakest division in the NFL and has been for a long time.

  15. “What’s wrong with having a Furlough?”
    You’d find plenty of things wrong with it if it were the Cowboys that were having “furloughs”.

  16. Terrible team, worst stadium in the league, an owner who doesn’t care, wow…
    The 49ers will have trouble making ends meet until they get a new stadium. Candlestick Park is in a dreary wind tunnel where it’s always freezing no matter what time of year it is. No one wants to go there.

  17. patsSB44champs says:
    July 7, 2009 10:15 AM
    Terrible team, worst stadium in the league, an owner who doesn’t care, wow…
    well not everyone is as fortunate as your pats when it comes to cheating and having the commish sweep it under the rug…of course you’ll be a success if you’re cheating, duh

  18. But you haven’t had a winning season since 2002 (and two winning seasons out of the last ten), and the NFCW is probably THE weakest division in the NFL and has been for a long time.
    and you’ve had several winning and shall i say dominant winning seasons, only to crumble when it matters, so what’s your point?…for the 49ers to be as horrible as you make us out to be, you finished one game better than us last year, so what does that say about your team? that has far more talent

  19. oh boy… I wasn’t bragging. I honestly have no idea how anyone can take that as bragging. I was just presenting a business model that works, and also stating how furloughs are ridiculous and the layoffs for the most part are shams.
    seriously, I wasn’t bragging. I’m sorry I came across that way. What’s done is done, but I can’t say I’m not hurt I was perceived that way. I’m only looking out for the people who bust ass and are good people. I wasn’t propping myself up…

  20. Al, what a guy! Just when everyone else is calling him old, stupid, out of touch, etc…. he see’s the moving of the 49’ers to his advantage. Move to L.A. and back, blah, blah, blah,
    Almost Check and Mate!

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