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Right of Athletes to Reject Pay Cuts During the Pandemic

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Almost all sides of life, including investment, travel, and entertainment, were affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, which began at the end of 2019 and spread globally in the current year (2020). In order to sustain their employment structure and the work and involvement of business, national and international organisations face a serious challenge. During this pandemic, where everyone is urged to stay home, the sports were greatly affected. Almost all matches and championships were delayed or cancelled. This research paper will address a recent growing problem in sports that the globe is grappling with, which is the right of athletes to reject pay cuts during the pandemic.

Right of Athletes to Reject Pay Cuts During the Pandemic

Section # 1: The Topic of Analysis

This research paper concentrates on the ethics of players. As a sign of support for their teams, communities , and nations, many athletes in the world agreed to cut a proportion of their salary. Although there are many players, many players have decided to reject this initiative, leading them to face criticism from supporters and the media for refusing to give away a few percentages of their salary. In addition to this paper, I will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of players’ involvement in such initiatives. In addition, along with my perspective on the subject, I will provide additional research on similar cases. My view can be described as: in favour of the refusal of player pay cuts. Because they’ve made money, and no one should tell them how to spend money on it.

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Section # 2: Research in-Depth

Player ethics is an essential component of sports; during his career, a player must demonstrate integrity and ethical morals. Not only should players, coaches, managers, clubs, and associations show high integrity to ensure a healthy and fair sports atmosphere. Not only does an ethic stand for “fair play,” but it also includes the respectful and ethical actions and practices of all parties in the sports community. In order to prevent unwanted behavior in the world of sports, sports ethics are listed, such as:

  • Gender Discrimination: sports ethics supports integrity and fights discrimination in all forms, including gender discrimination.
  • Racism: sports ethics supports integrity and fight discrimination in all states, including racism, which is discrimination based on race or ethnicity.
  • Sexual Abuse: sports ethics support human rights and fight sexual abuse in all of its forms.
  • Unethical Fans Attitude and Behavior: sports ethics support impartial fans’ actions, far from racism or sabotage.

Many campaigns fight against racism and apartheid and fight for gender equity and athletes’ rights (Kidd and Donnelly 131). While the world is now living a pandemic, everything had changed. People are being forced to stay at home, and the sports scheduled matches or championships are postponed/cancelled. Many clubs had decided to cut players’ salaries by a numerical percentage, such as cutting wages by 15%, 25% or even 50%. Many players agreed and said that this cut is a form to support the community and maybe a charity. While other players refused this cut and they said that they did not agree to cut from their salaries, they want the full payment without any amount. The question here, which action is ethical? Is the second scenario unethical, or is it okay? This is what is being discussed in this paper using credible sources in this section to make an answer to this critical question.

  • Challenges Facing the Players in the Pandemic

The professional athletes face challenges during the current pandemic; due to social distance and governmental operations, the gyms are closed, and the professional training is not accessible. The athletes are facing three main challenges toward maintaining high physical fitness levels and good performance; the three challenges are:

  • Conditioning Training: this challenge is because of the closing of gyms and training centers and governmental actions that aim to protect people from infection.
  • Nutrition: the challenge of keeping a healthy and full of nutrients diet is rising; many people are facing difficulties in offering versatile food from the grocery stores.
  • Mental Health: this challenge may be a sequence of not being able to maintain ideal athlete need such as professional training
  • Financial Problems: many players/athletes may lose part of their income.

challenges facing athletes in a pandemicFigure 1: challenges facing athletes in a pandemic

All scientific and technical efforts to minimize damage and provide safe guidance are important (Andreato, Coimbra, and Andrade 3).

  • Players’ Engagements in Cutting Salaries Initiatives; the Pros

When a player agrees to cut his salary due to the current challenging conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he/she most likely receives recognition and credit for accepting. The media may be reporting the news, and the player may widen the popularity. Some players are categorized as the most paid, and most popular players had accepted the salary cuts, such as Leonel Messi, who plays for Barcelona football club. While there are associations such as the NBA in the United States had made a salary cut by 50% for all players in the association. It can be noticed that there are benefits for players’ engagement, such as:

The meeting not only in the initiative but also the club, community, and country will benefit from saving salaries. Clubs will be more capable of maintaining activity after the pandemic.

Excellent and positive reputation for the player and avoidance of criticism, players who will take the initiative will be most likely seen as good ambassadors and supporters for their clubs and communities.

Release of losing the job. Many clubs had not asked the players for the salary cut; it was like an obligatory action. Many players had accepted the circumstance as an obligatory one. And not getting the amount may lead to job loss. We have to remember that sports are the job of professional players.

Encouragement of charity. The public sees experienced players, especially the most popular players such as Roger Federer (a tennis player), Cristiano Ronaldo (a football player in Juventus football club in the Italian league), and Mohammed Salah (a football player at Liverpool football club in the premier league) as role models. Each action from these highly paid players is seen and reported. When these players give charity or agree to cut their salary, they will encourage business people and fans to make charity and make the community’s right actions.

Supporting the world sport. The world sport is struggling during the current pandemic. Engagement in the initiative by players will show support to the whole sports community globally, and this will be accounted for the players who take the industry.

Show cooperation between all parties in a club, which will ensure that other employees will not lose their jobs, such as administrative employees. Accepting the salary cut may help the club to avoid financially.

  • Players’ Engagements in Cutting Salaries Initiatives; the Cons

It was discussed earlier the pros of players’ engagement in the initiative. In this part, the cons will be addressed. It might be seen that the whole industry is full of pros and free of scams. But this research paper aims to make a comprehensive analysis to answer the research question. The research question was about the player’s salary cut and whether it was considered unethical or acceptable. The engagement in cutting salaries initiative by players may hold unseen cons, such as:

Not all players are very highly paid, and there are players in the second and third leagues. Many players who are not very popular are doing sports for a living and cannot handle salary cuts. They need the money to live, not for investing or for non-elementary expenses.

It is not logical to force players to make charity; the charity cannot be moved. The charity must be done by the players themselves and no by forcing them to do it. (This point applies if the reason behind cutting the salaries is making charity).

The players are already paying taxes to the government, the taxes are high, and some players say that the tax is enough and cutting salaries will be unfair.  

The salary cut by clubs and associations may end up with problems between players and their clubs, or between players themselves. This con will be seen later when the sports activity returns.

  • Writer’s Perspective

My perspective is most likely going toward supporting the player’s favors. If the player refused the salary cut, it is okay and not accounted for as unethical. The money is his/her right, and no one should tell him/her how or where to spend the money. Since they have earned money, and no one should say to them how to spend their money.

It is well understood that players should show tolerance toward the community they live in, and cutting the salary may be accounted for. But I see that the salary cut should never be obligatory. There is also a fundamental idea that the players only are most criticized; we cannot deny that the sports industry does not consist of players only, but the players are very much focused on. The players should not be treated as a scapegoat.

In other words, the salary cut should not be the way that obligates the player to show support to the community; salary is the player’s right. He/she is free to spend it in any field or for any purpose; the known and very high paid players are few compared to the total amount of male and female professional players worldwide. It is also worth mentioning that the media focuses on men’s football leagues more than women’s clubs and championship. We cannot deny a large number of female football players. And also, we cannot forget the vast number of athletes who may be depending on their salaries for living, preparing for championships such as the Olympics, and spending on essential purposes.

I see that charity is more than appreciated, it is a great way to show support from the player toward the community, but concepts should not be mixed. The money is the player’s right, and if the player does not spend it on charity, the action will not be contradictory to the sports ethics.

  • Additional Research

The current coronavirus pandemic had a massive impact on the sports industry, as mentioned before, and the salaries cut issue became controversial in the largest football, basketball, and other sports. The premier league is living a debate nowadays because of the problem between supporters to the salaries cut and between voices supporting the players and refusing obligatory wages cut.

Recently, in a conference call with the Professional Footballers’ Union and the League Managers Union on Saturday, the Premier League’s implied 30 percent pay reduction or deferral plan for players was discussed. A statement was later released by the players’ union, suggesting such a move could result in a tax deficit of £200 m (Media).

The debate is taking a tough road and maybe ending up with a problem between the clubs, the footballers, and the fans. Players association in England is in an argument with the Premier League administrators. This argument shows us that it may be fair not to cut the salaries because cutting the wages may end up with less support to the community because the tax collected from the players will decline. Regarding the premier league debate, Players, on the other hand, are finding themselves being asked to take a pay cut. While the players are more than happy to do their bit in many cases, they are keen to understand whether the measures proposed are proportionate, necessary and whether they are temporary or permanent (How Wages Debate Is Viewed Inside the Game). I believe that there is a shared desire to be realistic and find fair solutions in most cases. There will be cases where players feel that their club behaves opportunistically and perhaps requests financial sacrifices beyond what might be reasonable.

Meanwhile, in Spain, cutting players’ salaries are being made with the player’s agreement. Barcelona had asked the players to reduce their wages, and they agreed (Marsden and Moises). Read Madrid, the capital’s most successful team in Spain, had agreed with the players to minimize salaries (Marsden and Moises).

I think that rationale behind the wages is critically important when the firm intends to make cuts in the employees’ salaries; the amount should be fair to all employees in the sports industry. All employees, including players, coaches, administrative employees, and other employees, should be treated as employees without discrimination. Firms should explain the variation of wage changes across workers is essential because it can shed some light on reward structures within firms (Doris, O’Neill and Sweetman 282).

Section #3: Soft Claim

In this section, I will be starting my position of argument after the in-depth research is made. I concluded that the world is passing in extraordinary circumstances, which stopped many activities, including all sports activities. This time influenced by the coronavirus pandemic requires sage and well-studied management by the different sports parties and clubs.

In my opinion, I see that the players’ favour should be respected, and the players should be respected and not criticized if they refused the salary cut. The money is their right, and no one should tell a player to do a charity; notably, taxes on the players’ salaries are going for community help. On the other hand, it is more than appreciated when a player agrees to cut his/her salary. And it is notable also that there is a responsibility held by players, especially the highly paid players, toward their nations, communities, and clubs.

The soft claim is measured on the research question and the analysis, as written in the paper. It is worth to mention that I am not standing against the idea of charity. Charity is the most practical action that can be made by a famous person. But if charity was made in an obligatory way, it will lose its aim and message. I also hold immense respect for those who accepted and did not refuse the salary cuts, but my idea is about giving players the freedom to decide and not obligate them. The soft claim also contains the concept of considering refusing the salary cut okay and not contradicting sports’ ethical principles.

At the end of this section, it must be mentioned that the management of the financial issues in pandemic time is a critical process that must be done with transparency, fairness, profession, and integrity to ensure that each person is not being oppressed.

Section #4: Further Implications for New Research on the Topic

All experts are predicting that the coronavirus pandemic will not go soon. This is because there is no discovered drug or vaccine to end the epidemic. The only way to protect lives now is to isolate people from each other’s, and this situation will keep all sport matches and championships postponed. The coming back time is not exact yet. Hence a risk management action should be researched to prevent the unwanted ramifications of the situation as possible.

The sports firms should be aware of people working in the sports field; the loss of jobs is not wanted for sure. Future research about the ways to prevent job loss is required as well. The main research topic, which is the refusal of a salary cut, may be implicated in the future by studying comparison between cutting the salaries and not cutting them; this will be a tool to determine if the wages are helpful enough in helping the community or not. Moreover, a review of sports ethics will help the researchers ensure that refusing the salary cut is not being in the opposite direction of sports ethics.

Work Cited;
  • “How Wages Debate Is Viewed Inside the Game.” Awsat, https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2255101/how-wages-debate-viewed-inside-game
  • Andreato, Leonardo V., Danilo R. Coimbra, and Alexandro Andrade. “Challenges to Athletes During the Home Confinement Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Strength & Conditioning Journal (2020).‏
  • Doris, Aedín, Donal O’Neill, and Olive Sweetman. “How Important are Firms in Explaining Wage Changes During a Recession?.” Economica 87.345 (2020): 282-298.‏
  • Kidd, Bruce, and Peter Donnelly. “Human rights in sports.” International review for the sociology of sport 35.2 (2000): 131-148.‏
  • Marsden, Sam, and Moises Llorens. “Barcelona Need €200m Cuts to Cope with Coronavirus – Sources.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 21 Apr. 2020, www.espn.com/soccer/barcelona/story/4087520/barcelona-need-200m-cuts-to-cope-with-coronavirus-sources.
  • Media, PA. “Wayne Rooney Leads Footballers’ Backlash against Pay Cut Criticism.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 5 Apr. 2020, www.theguardian.com/football/2020/apr/05/wayne-rooney-leads-footballers-backlash-against-government-and-premier-league-lineker-neville.

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