Unlike the rest of us, professional athletes have representation to protect their lost wages of millions of dollars, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Associated Press writes, “Major League Baseball players ignored claims by clubs that they need to take additional pay cuts, instead proposing they receive a far higher percentage of salaries and commit to a longer schedule as part of a counteroffer to start the coronavirus-delayed season.”
A source familiar with negotiations who chose to remain anonymous because details have yet to be made public provided details to the Associated Press. An 80-minute contentious digital meeting occurred with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, deputy commissioner Dan Halem, union head Tony Clark, and union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer all present.
The MLB had proposed 2020 salaries would be lowered from roughly $4 billion to $1.2 billion. The players union responded with an offer that would leave salaries to total approximately $2.8 billion. The union proposed a 114-game regular season instead of the 82 offered from management. Opening day would be “June 30 and the regular season would end Oct. 31, nearly five weeks after the Sept. 27 conclusion that MLB’s proposal stuck to from the season’s original schedule.” Additionally, the union offered more doubleheaders to cram all games into 123 days.
Players also asked for $100 million more in salary to be advanced during the rest of spring training, meaning a player “would receive about 70% of his salary or 114/162nds under the union plan.” New options to increase revenue were proposed by players, including postseason or offseason All-Star Games or A Home Run Derby, wear broadcast microphones on the field and participate in television programming.
As for coronavirus pandemic risks – literally, not monetarily – “if the postseason is not held because of a second wave” of the virus, “the union plan calls for $100 million in salary to be deferred with interest, payable in November 2021 and November 2022. Only players whose original 2020 salaries were $10 million or more would be subject to having money deferred.”
Moral of the story? Become a professional athlete so that global pandemics, international crises and even having zero fans attend games will never hold you back from your millions.