According to this report by the Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington, all employees of the Miami Dolphins received an e-mail on Tuesday afternoon to inform them of an important meeting to be held about an hour later. When the meeting finally got underway, all team employees were told by Dolphins CEO Mike Dee that their salaries would be cut by up to 20 percent due to the ongoing NFL lockout.
Well, at least, that's what the team wants the employees to believe. But I'm not buying it. I don't think the lockout is to blame for the mandatory pay cuts. And I'll explain why in a moment.
First, though, let's get to the facts. These pay cuts will affect every team employee across the board and will last until the lockout finally ends. Those making $75,000 or more will see a 20 percent cut. Those making under $75,000 will see a 15 percent cut. And those making under $50,000 will see a 10 percent cut.
There is always the chance that the lost wages could be returned to the employees once the lockout is over. But as the report states, two sources close to the situation are doubtful of that.
The organization itself refuses to comment on the situation publicly. When reached by the Herald, teams spokesman Harvey Greene said that the Dolphins are "a private company" and "don't comment publicly about our internal practices."
Well that's fine. The details are sure to leak out further as unhappy employees affected by the cuts have some time to digest this. The report by Darlington does in fact state that the work environment at team headquarters has taken a turn for the worse:
In the wake of the meeting, blame is currently being tossed around internally amongst employees, causing a clear decrease in employee morale as a result, sources said.
That's to be expected, of course. And I can't say I blame these employees for being angry over the situation.
Blame for the pay cuts is being placed on slow ticket sales so far in 2011, with the belief being that the NFL lockout has caused this lag in ticket sales. But I'm not so sure you can blame the stagnant ticket sales this offseason only on the lockout - sales goals that are "extremely far from being met," according to this report. Sure, disinterest in the sport as a whole is probably playing a large part in the slow sales. But maybe, just maybe, some fans are just tired of paying their hard earned money to watch a mediocre team play.
Who is to say that the team's success - or lack thereof - isn't the main driver in the lagging ticket sales? What if there was no lockout and sales were still lagging? Would the team still have made the decision to cut salaries for even the lowest level employees?
I'm calling bulls--t on this right now.
Even more worrisome is that the report by Darlington claims that employees were told that they would recover their lost wages only if the Dolphins met their sales expectations for 2011.
If this is accurate, then I really have a hard time believing that these pay cuts were solely a product of the lockout. And frankly, I'm angry and embarrassed that the team I root for and spend my own money on would treat their own employees this way. It's totally unacceptable that the team owned by the second richest owner in the NFL would deem it necessary to cut salaries at this point in time - even before any actual games are even close to being lost due to the lockout.
Stephen Ross is not only the second richest NFL owner, but at a net worth of $3.4 billion, he's the 277th richest person in the world according to Forbes. But somehow, this man feels the need to authorize pay cuts to his entire organization - including those making less than $50,000 per year - based on the fact that the Dolphins are seeing slow ticket sales and might not reach their organizational sales goal.
And all the while, the team is using the lockout as their protection, their reasoning, and essentially as their scapegoat.
I don't say this very often - if ever. But today, I'm embarrassed to be a Miami Dolphins fan. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Thank you, Mr. Ross and Mr. Dee, for alienating your fan base as well as many of your very own employees. I hope you both can sleep well at night in your million dollar homes while some in your very own Miami Dolphins family have to lay awake at night worried about how this pay cut will affect their own family.