Martin Devlin: Making sport players take a pay cut is unfair

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 Mar 2020, 2:20PM

Martin Devlin: Making sport players take a pay cut is unfair

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 Mar 2020, 2:20PM

We need to talk alright.

“Sorry folks, it’s just business”. How many times have you read/heard that line being said? It’s usually delivered by some unforgiving sod telling whoever it is that something bad’s about to happen to them, most times involving money.

And conveniently, for the sod involved anyway, it gets filed in the “no-one’s fault, nothing personal, it’s just business” department. Now as our world slowly unravels in front of us expect it to be something you hear more in the upcoming weeks than perhaps ever before.

Most recent examples being the unholy public wars going on in Australia where past AFL & NRL “greats” are castigating the current playing generation for not immediately accepting an across the board 50% paycut - “selfish, overpaid & undeserving” just some of the inflammatory adjectives wilfully used.

As with most things though, nothing here is as simple as it may first appear. Yes those sporting bodies (alongside the A-League & RA) are facing probable financial crises and, yes, everyone employed in those industries needs to be aware of both the collective & individual responsibilities they share. However to publicly target the players & attempt to shame them into concessions using flagrant headline/clickbait grabbing antics,(like has been happening), isn’t just unfair it’s what you’d call in league “grub tactics”. Ask yourself this question:

Who do you know among your family, friends & colleagues that could afford to take an immediate 50% paycut? Does rent also halve during that time? What about mortgage payments, insurances, power bills, petrol, groceries etc etc?

Hell no. All THOSE institutions, vital “Essential Services” as many are labeled, will still make their billion $$ profits during our lockdowns.

In fact most will more than likely make record profits from our inconvenience and obedience.

Why isn’t the same heat being poured on them then? Because it never is. Far easier to target people/players who the public already know while the mega-rich board members of these big corporations remain as invisible and out of reach as ever.

Me, I totally support the right of players from all professional sports to negotiate their way carefully and prudently through these major decision making moments, remembering the circumstances involved here are uniquely unforeseen with no-one on the planet in a position to be at all prepared or preplanned to cope.  They also have the absolute right the players to have these talks totally away from the public glare & stuff anyone who thinks they have a right to demand otherwise.

So, back to the opening line of this piece then where someone saying “it’s just business” may well be an eventual outcome.

But whatever happens surely it’s also only up to those directly involved, and theirs alone, to debate about and decide upon? Meaning the rest of us (past greats included however well-intentioned) need to just butt out and mind our own. Business that is.