It has been an interesting last couple of weeks for Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partner, Josh Harris. Two weeks ago, the Sixers' owner caught heat for allowing the Sixers versus Pistons matchup at the Wells Fargo Center to happen along with well over 15,000 fans in attendance during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic despite what the city suggested.
For a moment, Harris took up the opportunity to save face by following Mark Cuban's lead and offering to cover hourly arena workers' paychecks as the season went on a hiatus. Then nearly two weeks later, a questionable decision put Harris right back in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons.
On Monday night, a pay cut was proposed for all Sixers employees who are under a $50,000-plus salary. In a statement from Harris' company, Harris-Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, those employees were expected to take a pay cut for up to 20-percent.
As expected, this news did not go over well with the public -- especially when it became known that Sixers' All-Star center Joel Embiid had plans to help out with those employees who were going to be affected. After garnering tons of criticism in less than 24 hours due to the decision, Harris has decided to cancel his plans.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Sixers' Managing Partner issued a statement, admitting that he was wrong.
"Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working through this very difficult situation. As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a temporary 20% pay cut while preserving everyone’s full benefits -- and keeping our 1500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season."
"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. This is an extraordinary time in our world - unlike any most of us have ever lived through before - and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment. To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong."
Employees of the organization who were going to be affected by this decision are more than likely thrilled to hear they will not lose money as they are out of work due to the pandemic. The Sixers fan base, however, is still not happy. There's still backlash coming from this situation, and it probably won't be forgotten anytime soon.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_