NFL lockout: Falcons cut pay of some office staff

If only Arthur Blank and rest of us could see into future on the NFL lockout. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

If only Arthur Blank and rest of us could see into future on the NFL lockout. (Curtis Compton)

Several NFL teams have announced furloughs or payroll deductions for their office staff and even coaches during the current lockout. The Falcons are no exception.

While owner Arthur Blank has not mandated furloughs or significant cuts, there have been minor payroll reductions to members of the office staff, according to somebody familiar with the organization. The team has not made any announcement regarding the pay cuts, per the organization’s policy of not discussing internal business matters.

Blank, who is as image-conscious as they come, also prefers that this type of news not get out. But the cuts seemed inevitable.

This is a situation worth watching. The longer the lockout goes, the more antsy owners will get. The lack of television, ticket and advertising revenue, as well as other sources of income, at some point will lead to difficult decisions.

The owners are banking on the NFL Players Association cracking first. While players won’t start losing game checks until the regular season begins, many have lost contract bonuses for organized team workouts. It’s the reason owners have fought so hard for the lockout in court.

Coaches are siding with the players. The NFL Coaches Association has filed a 20-page legal brief in support of the union (you can read it here).

They have a vested interest. The Detroit Lions have begun two-week furloughs that affect all employees, including coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew.

Among the other teams that have slashed payroll, mandated furloughs or are considering one or the other are the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. (Thanks to ProFootballTalk.com for the reporting and aggregation of other teams’ plans.)

Final editorial comment: There is something wrong when low-salaried secretaries are paying the price for a collective bargain war between billionaire owners and millionaire players. That’s something both sides need to think about.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

189 comments Add your comment

DC

May 26th, 2011
11:21 am

DC

May 26th, 2011
11:25 am

I felt dirty doing that..im not doing that ever again!

David

May 26th, 2011
11:28 am

sloppy seconds

PMC

May 26th, 2011
11:28 am

The thing I don’t get about all of this…..they haven’t lost any money. True, they only really make money during the season but no money not one dime has been lost yet. This is extremist and this from the healthiest league in America.

Wait until the NBA goes into full blood letting mode.

JP

May 26th, 2011
11:30 am

Hmmm … sadly I don’t foresee the financial well-being of an office secretary being high on someone like Antonio Cromartie’s list of priorities. Unless, of course, she’s one of the 6 mothers of one of his 7 illegitimate children across 5 states. Because then that might mean he’d have to pay more child support.

DC

May 26th, 2011
11:31 am

I see the owners giving in before the players…its pretty sad the way all of this is going down..but we all should be prepared for the NBA lockout coming soon.

Jeff, EXTREMELY off topic but..have you read the Mayor’s comments in regards to losing the Thrashers? Said that there are some things in the works to offset them losing…kind of hinting at another sports team coming to ATL…

My only guess would be that the MLS is coming to ATL..but that would mean someone with pockets..IE Mr. Arthur Blank and Co. is willing to shell out the 40 mill to add an expansion team. Have you heard anything on that front? I also know David Beckham can be owner of the 20th team..which would be this one coming up. I for one would be first in line to buy season tickets to MLS soccer in ATL..

Rochelle

May 26th, 2011
11:31 am

I agree! There is also a serious problem when educators are making far less than athletes! Here are these over paid football players tripping over more $. That’s so sad…Yet the office staff has to suffer because of their greed! This nation is so unbalanced! Remember that the children ARE our future!

jasonthecloser

May 26th, 2011
11:31 am

someone forgot to hit spel chek

PMC

May 26th, 2011
11:31 am

I’m kind of hoping that we lose some of the season at this point just to screw the owners a bit too.

We could have continued on with this agreement for a couple of more years… but no…. let’s go ahead and ruin what was good and working fine.

mike

May 26th, 2011
11:32 am

Shame on Arthur Blank! **** you and the stadium you want me to pay for..

JoeV

May 26th, 2011
11:32 am

@DC

…that’s what she said.

been there, done that

May 26th, 2011
11:34 am

thanks for remembering the staff. I worked for the orchestra for years pulling 50-60 hour weeks at under $30K a year while they worked less than 20 huors a week and start at over $60K. Its just how it is when you have to support ‘The Talent’. Just transfer this to every sports team in town….

While I sympathize with the Falcons staff…lets not forget the Thrashers folks too. When the team doesnt play or leaves town it effects more than just those on the sidelines.

Atlanta Blue

May 26th, 2011
11:34 am

I am contracted as a “Game Day Employee” of the Falcons. Without games, I haven’t lost anything yet, but I sure will come August if they aren’t back on the field.

When elephants fight, mice get trampled.

Awful, Awful, Awful

May 26th, 2011
11:35 am

You know, I couldn’t care less if they never played again. These players are pitiful, overpaid thugs (there are some exceptions) who will never be able to make it in the real world. Their union, along with all the other unions in this country should be outlawed……they’re ruining our country….period.

DC

May 26th, 2011
11:36 am

Too Shay JoeV too shay!

Miss Helen Highwater

May 26th, 2011
11:36 am

Well, at least some of the Falcon’s players are able to supplement the loss of their player salaries by doing what they would have been doing anyway had they not become football players, selling crack or pimping.

[...] NFL lockout: Falcons cut pay of some office staffAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)If only Arthur Blank and rest of us could see into future on the NFL lockout. (Curtis Compton) Several NFL teams have announced furloughs or payroll deductions for their office staff and even coaches during the current lockout. …NFL coaches add their voices to labor fightYahoo! Sports (blog)Commissioner says lockout is having negative effect on NFL fansLos Angeles TimesBigger rosters in NFL?Boston GlobeWashington Post -phillyBurbs.com -Boston Heraldall 2,350 news articles » [...]

JP

May 26th, 2011
11:37 am

What I don’t particularly understand is the PR battle between the owners and the players, wanting to get the fans on their side. What does it matter whose side fans take? It isn’t like we can sway either group one way or the other. And when it comes to buying tickets/merchandise, even if fans only got disillusioned with one group or the other, it’s not like we could possibly withhold our money in a way that would only hurt one side, players or owners. These people do realize that they’re all tied together at the end of the day, right?

Rochelle

May 26th, 2011
11:40 am

The FAILcons can’t play anyway…hahahahahahahaha! :)

Honky Talkin'

May 26th, 2011
11:42 am

The millionaires versus the billionaires….who gets hurt? The regular people with regular jobs. Freakin’ Disgsuting!!

COJones

May 26th, 2011
11:45 am

I don’t understand. I’ve sent them my $. And no games or even preseason games have been lost. They’re saving money on medical coverage & facilities maintenance. But they’ve got to lay off staff? And all this because the players simply want what they had before, not less. Seriously? smh.

RossAlacqua

May 26th, 2011
11:45 am

Completely agree that there’s something wrong with lower-level employees taking a hit because of the lockout. Millionaires/Billionaires fighting over that extra million while that $30,000/year employee takes paycut. Priorities way off.

Covers Dixie like the Dew

May 26th, 2011
11:47 am

A simple solution:

A federal law should be passed forcing all NFL teams to be a non-profit, community owned franchise like the Green Bay Packers.

Hankie Aron

May 26th, 2011
11:47 am

Jeff- Your’e on a roll along with the Bradley. Great story. I can’t understand why the 30k secretary or 25k janitor should be furloughed or lose pay for the owners and players sake. It’s disgusting. I LOVE almost all sports, but I am getting really disenfranchised with the garbage that comes along with. What am I going to do, take up underwater basket weaving? Know of any professional leagues doing that?

Pinball34

May 26th, 2011
11:49 am

The “Mayor” can run his yap all he wants, but it’s not hockey he’s bragging about. STFU, rookie…

True Falcon Fan

May 26th, 2011
11:51 am

Jeff, better yet if my opinion means anything and “THE NFL FANS” are listening. 1) Don’t buy any season tickets, at least until this BS CBA is settled 2) Don’t sign any agreement to buy before you “THE FAN” knows there will be a NFL season 3) If you need a sports “Fix” go watch the PEEWEE’s, High School & College
This will send a BIG message to the “Primadonas” —- both sides of the table!

GO FALCONS

Roger

May 26th, 2011
11:52 am

Jeff- when you find out names of the people who were cut, can you let us know?

Vain Jangling

May 26th, 2011
11:55 am

Them secretaries and ball boys is making too much money anyways. I just want folks like Dez Bryant and Jerry Richardson to be happy. Why can’t we all just get along?

PMC

May 26th, 2011
11:56 am

We haven’t even mentioned the cost savings in bonuses that were not paid out.

Roster Bonuses for guys like Spoon alone would pay for half the office staff.

Peter

May 26th, 2011
11:58 am

Arthur is getting cheap on his staff….. Typical………Billionaire getting cheap !

savannahdawg

May 26th, 2011
12:00 pm

I really don’t care about either side or their issues. All of you are greedy and that’s the bottom. You can spin it any way you choose…….you make millions of dollars……..you can afford your own damn healthcare. Take all that money you have and try saving it, instead of living in a castle, with six cars. If you get hurt and your career ends early, put your education to good use and get a real job. If you left early becuase of your greed and didn’t finish college……..that’s your problem.

Here is an idea………stop reporting about this stupidness! Let’s ignore these over-paid, greedy loving, can’t get enough idiots……….That means the owners and the players. There is plenty of other sports to take up my free time with.

JOSH SMITH FOR 3!!!

May 26th, 2011
12:04 pm

@DC: The Beckhams are considering naming their daughter “Atlanta.”

Btw, the line for MLS season tickets starts behind me.

RedTornado

May 26th, 2011
12:04 pm

Everyone wants to bash the millionaire athletes and billionaire owners, but they provide job opportunites for thousands of people. The cities benefit from increased tourism. I’m an NFL / Atlanta Falcon fan. I will continue to support it. No one likes to see someone lose their job and hopefully the lockout will end and people will be rehired.

GTT

May 26th, 2011
12:05 pm

Think you meant payroll reductions sted deductions in your lede. Cheers.

Not a Hockey Fan or a Soccer Fan

May 26th, 2011
12:05 pm

DC– It won’t make any real difference even if you are at the end of the line to buy MLS season tickets since there won’t be more than 9 people ahead of you. For goodness sake don’t bring soccer here. It’s as worthless as hockey. All of you residents that just have to have hockey or soccer, just move to Canada; move to England; just move. We won’t miss you anymore than we’ll miss hockey or soccer.

Face Ripper Monkey 2012!

May 26th, 2011
12:06 pm

Can the owners get any stupider? The coaches are behind the players, the fans are behind the players and now, most certainly, all office and administrative staff will be behind the players.

Billionaires alienating themselves from the fan base. Brilliant.

Baddabing

May 26th, 2011
12:06 pm

A sad commentary on our “Me First” society. Thank you Mark Richt for walking the walk.

scfalc

May 26th, 2011
12:07 pm

Absurd. The amount of money gained by such a cut is insignificant to the overall operation.

jay

May 26th, 2011
12:07 pm

So lets slash the salaries of the guys making $32K per year while we battle it out with the guys making millions.

Atlanta-made 1951

May 26th, 2011
12:07 pm

The pros lost me a long time ago.
But they replaced me with others so that loss didn’t matter to them.
I still won though in my mind.
I’m not paying any overpaid millionaire’s salary.
All I have to worry about is college coaches pay and that’s enough.

Truth

May 26th, 2011
12:08 pm

Ray Lewis should be in jail

money magic

May 26th, 2011
12:08 pm

blank is a billionaire–he shouldn’t be cutting any salaries. he has plenty of cash to keep paying the same amounts.

Bone Meal

May 26th, 2011
12:10 pm

That’s the way it’s done in the US of A…soldiers pay for the crimes of their commanding officers, CEO’s walk away from broken companies with hundred million dollar bonuses while the working Joe gets canned, the middle class tax burden grows while the rich whine for bigger tax cuts.

Nothing new here.

Atlanta-made 1951

May 26th, 2011
12:10 pm

It was difficult to convict Ray’s posse of the two murders because all the witnesses were lowlifes whose perceptions on drugs were not very convincing.
The defendant’s attorneys were better too.

Atlanta-made 1951

May 26th, 2011
12:12 pm

I agree with money magic.

Arthur Blank

May 26th, 2011
12:14 pm

I’m rich. Deal with it!

tokyobrave

May 26th, 2011
12:15 pm

I am as anti union as anyone in today’s world, but if Blank allows this to happen when he himself can cut a check out of his own pocket to cover the payroll until this id over is below the belt. there are no winners here…but thuis is just pitiful and I am ashamed to be a Falcon fan at this point…are you kidding me?
The players too have a responsibility…each should contribute something based on their salary to keep these people whole…. owners and players…how much is that watch really worth when kids in your front office will suffer because of your greed and arrognace?

Matt Ryan

May 26th, 2011
12:15 pm

hi guys

At least Blank will pay my salary

True Falcon Fan

May 26th, 2011
12:17 pm

“FOLKS” Get a life —- “THERE IS NO HONOR AMONGST THIEVES” —- both side of the table!

E-Roll

May 26th, 2011
12:18 pm

I am getting REALLY tired of everyone talking about how greedy the players are.

The OWNERS are the one that opted out of the current deal to try to get a better deal.

The OWNERS are the one that are asking the players to contribute more to the amount that the OWNERS take off of the top before the money is split.

THE OWNERS are the ones that would not accept a 50 / 50 split that was proposed by the players that would have lead to the OWNERS getting 10% more of the pie AFTER they took their billion off of the top.

THE OWNERS are the ones that put all of this in motion by taking less money from the last TV deal so that they could have the provision that they still get paid in case of a stoppage in play.

Now the players have so fault in this also but please stop trying to paint them to be the ones that are greddy when it is the OWNERS that want more and more and more.