According to a report by Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, the Packers and Ravens are the only two teams that have already forced their assistant coaches to take pay cuts during the lockout. Twenty-three other teams are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks and months. Seattle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Indianapolis, Dallas and the Giants have pledged not to demand any cuts unless the lockout extends into the regular season.
This news should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who works for or follows the Packers. Here’s what Jason Wied, the team’s vice president of administration/general counsel, said on Mar. 12: “”Our coaches, our scouts, even [president] Mark Murphy and [GM] Ted Thompson and [coach] Mike McCarthy, we’re looking at relatively sizable salary reductions until this matter is resolved.”
While this story makes the Packers look
bad cheap, it’s very important to remember that all the people affected will eventually recoup any money lost. It’s also very important to remember that Green Bay has long been considered a model franchise when it comes to taking care of its employees. In fact, the director of the NFL Coaches Association echoed that particular sentiment in the article. “That [the decision to cut salaries] was surprising to me that they did that because those two teams are so good to their coaches and their employees,” commented Larry Kennan. “They are two of the model organizations in the game.”
Kennan went on to question how this decision will affect the coaches in the long run. “It’s not sitting well at all,” he said, “because what happens is there will be a staff meeting and management says to the coaches, ‘We are in this fight with the players.’ And coaches are saying, ‘OK, if we’re in this fight, how come we’re taking a pay cut? Are we with you or are we with the players?’ “It’s crazy. Nobody’s losing money at this point. They will lose money if there are no games played, but they’re not losing money yet. Yet they’re docking money from the coaches and other people working the building, and that doesn’t seem right.’’
Perhaps, but what the Packers and Ravens are doing now and what many other teams figure to start doing in the very near future is hardly unprecedented. And while it may rankle some assistants to get paid less than their contract calls for, those same people need to realize that pay cuts are happening all over the place in the real world. The big difference, of course, is that most of the people in the real world will never recoup that money.