American Greed: The Tug of War Between Owners and the MLBPA

Illustration for article titled American Greed: The Tug of War Between Owners and the MLBPA
Illustration: Eric Barrow (Shutterstock)

This country has a problem.

You can’t hide from it. You can’t deny it. Greed and the current structure of capitalism is destroying this country.


Looking at what’s going on with the negotiations to start the MLB season, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the owners are a more glamorous reflection of what’s going on between corporations and workers across the country.

You have the players asking for their full salaries and you have the billionaire owners saying but wait… we deserve our share of the pie, too, and then some.

Based on a ESPN report, the salary breakdown for the 82-game proposed 2020 season would give players roughly 45 percent of their contracted salary, with players who make the most receiving slightly less. The remaining profits will fall in the hands of owners. As we’ve seen during the pandemic, American billionaires are the ones who least need it.

“The Players Association says the proposal involves massive additional pay cuts and the union is extremely disappointed,” MLBPA said in a statement Tuesday. “The sides also remain far apart on health & safety protocols. We’ll meet with players to determine next steps.”

Since March, billionaires in this country have made close to $450 billion while economic hardship permeates across the country, according to CNBC report.

It’s reminiscent of a similar tug of war happening in the corporate retail world, which shows greed has no fence around it, thriving in and out of business across this country.


JCPenney gave a $7.5-million payout to its four topic executives in the mist of filing for bankruptcy last month, according to Forbes,“In plain English, the company claims that it needed to incentivize key executives who were part of the Titanic’s crash to stay aboard and not hop onto a life raft and sail away,” wrote Forbes reporter Jack Kelly.

Currently, JCPenney is in $3.92 billion of long-term debt and has furloughed most of its 85,000 employees nation-wide. The executives’ value, based on the company’s actions, is higher than the operation itself and the furloughed workers.


If the JCPenney executives made the decision to leave…

They can easily be replaced and potentially with folks more committed to the job. There are over 320 million people in this country, JCPenney could surely find someone to take their seat if necessary.


Even before the pandemic, 60 percent of Americans didn’t have $1,000 in savings to cover an emergency expense. I’m sure those furloughed JCPenney workers could have used $7.5 million dollars as a collective.

On the surface, the player-to-owners’ value in professional sports is very similar to the corporate world’s executive-to-worker value. The ones driving the industry are not the ones being properly compensated. Why do MLB owners get a larger share of the pizza than the workers when a global pandemic is going on?


MLB owners, heck any billionaire owner of a professional sports team for that matter, are the last people that should be asking for a dime during this pandemic. They are making money in their sleep while many folks try to find the funds to put food on the table. And putting their health and the health of loved ones at risk to do so.

Most of the owners have multiple businesses, so losses that they are absorbing from the lack of MLB revenue right now could be generated elsewhere if they channeled just a little effort.


While MLB players are not the average American facing economic hardship, their concerns about why they are taking the brunt of the pay reduction putting their health on the line, is valued. It could contribute to a larger conversation everyone can participate in across the country about why are workers allowed to suffer while corporate executives are living it up.

When greed is good, we’re never all in this together.