Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

VAUGHAN: Professional sports needs to pay the little guy if a return is inevitable

Economic benefits of pandemic sports needs to benefit all income levels

Sports should come back…and not just because I’m bored.

Right now, the NBA, NHL, the MLB, and every other professional sports league are pondering how they can safely return to action during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

If you would have asked me in April, I would have said absolutely, positively, no way that should happen. The numbers were astronomical at the time and there was no way I would be okay with watching sports unless I personally watched Alberta CMO Deena Hinshaw give Connor McDavid and all of his teammates nasal swab tests before every game.

My thoughts have changed.

The relaunch of the North American economy is happening across the continent, forcing citizens out of the safety of their homes and back into the the workplace at a rapid pace.

This is happening while COVID-19 remains very much in our midst, but the necessity of ongoing capitalism means people have to go back to work.

The argument this raises in terms of whether professional sports should return is that if people making minimum wage across the country should be forced back into work without health certainty; than why shouldn’t people making 100 times the minimum wage not be asked to do the same?

Essentially, the wealth of professional athletes and the owners of professional sports teams shouldn’t be a reason to treat them as a protected class during a pandemic.

Luckily, all indications are that the athletes and owners themselves as a general rule want to return to the ice, fields, courts and so on, but what my previous argument leaves out is the thousands of individuals who make a less-tidy income from the business of sports.

Broadcast teams, arena staff, caterers, care-taking staff and many more will be put at risk when sports inevitably returns. These people simply cannot be left out of the business mathematics that are the basis of the decision to return. In fact, every one of these individuals should receive significant hazard pay. I would hope leagues do the right thing and ensure that, but I certainly do not have high hopes the cash will be forked over.

In general, it is important that returning to sports over the fear of loss of revenue should mean that everyone involved with that returning gets paid handsomely for the risk involved — not simply those who quite honestly have the resources to weather the storm financially if another lockdown were to occur.

Sports will return. There is simply too much money on the line not to return. As a fan, I very much want them to return — but the benefits of that return need to trickle down.

Thousands of people will put themselves at risk to make the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL and all our favourite pastimes possible again.

Everyone, especially the less financially fortunate, should reap the monetary benefits of that return. I doubt they will.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read