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Pro sports owners got public handouts; they owe employees hand up

Remember this the next time a billionaire sports owner comes looking for a handout.

Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is the latest to lay off employees or cut their salaries as a result of shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In announcing the cuts Wednesday, Jacobs’ company Delaware North somberly said they came after “difficult and painful deliberations.”

You know what’s actually difficult and painful? A low-wage worker who was barely getting by now having to worry about making ends meet without a paycheck. A mid-level manager who doesn’t have much in savings wondering how long they’re going to be able to cover that rent check or mortgage payment. A senior citizen who worked part-time to supplement what they receive from Social Security having to choose between groceries and their medications.

Jacobs and his family are worth $3.3 billion, according to Forbes. While continuing to pay the salaries of his employees would no doubt put a dent in that — I weep at the thought of him having to scrap that trip to the Antibes this year, or being forced to make due with only six luxury cars — Jacobs has the resources.

Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins, in 2015.

And don’t tell me he doesn’t have the cash on hand because the TD Garden and his concessions business are shut down. Ditto for Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who Bloomberg News reported has laid off a whopping 40,000 employees at his casinos, restaurants and hotels.

Among one of the many inequities in this country is that it’s easier for those who already have money to get money. If Jacobs and Fertitta don’t have the cash on hand to meet payroll, they should take out a loan.

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