Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is getting slammed for cutting salaries or laying off workers altogether during the coronavirus pandemic. Tilman Fertitta, who owns the Houston Rockets—as well as Landry's, the parent company over hundreds of restaurants, hotels, and casinos—is likewise drawing criticism after laying off 40,000 workers across his businesses. They, and other billionaire sports owners, now have another critic to add to the list: Nancy Armour of USA Today. "Next time billionaire team [owners come] looking for a handout, remember their cruelty toward employees," she writes. Armour notes that while bigwigs like Jacobs and Fertitta may be taking big losses as a result of the virus, the people truly hurting are those struggling to pay bills or mortgages during the outbreak.
Jacobs and his family, for example, are worth $3.3 billion—an amount, Armour notes, that Jacobs could afford to dip into to pay his workers' salaries and still have plenty left over. In Armour's view, that these billionaires have dumped their staff without much of a look back is even more infuriating when you consider that it's the public that's helped prop up the "billionaire boys club" this whole time—either because their stadiums have been built on public land, or via public financing, tax breaks, and law enforcement assistance during games. "These are difficult times, and they're only going to get worse in the coming weeks," Armour writes. "Workers aren't looking for a handout like their billionaire bosses have gotten. Just a helping hand." (Read the full column here.)