Posted: 10:43 am Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross promises employee refunds or days off if no games missed to NFL lockout
By Post Staff
Two weeks after instituting mandatory pay cuts among all office employees, and six days before his football staff also faces a pay reduction, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Wednesday that he intends to pay back his employees in some fashion if no games are missed due to the NFL lockout.
“If we play, they’re all getting money back or days off,” Ross told USA Today after NFL owners finished two days of meetings in Indianapolis. “So it’s not really a cutback. We’ll definitely make it up.”
The Dolphins are one of at least a dozen teams to cut employee pay in some fashion during the lockout, but the team had not planned on compensating employees for lost wages. Ross changed his tune perhaps after sensing that the pay cuts turned many employees against the owners in their labor battle with the players. Though the lockout has lasted more than 10 weeks, NFL owners have not yet suffered any serious financial consequences other than lagging ticket sales.
“We all have our problems, and we’re trying to minimize them as much as possible, and as fairly and equitably as we can,” Ross said. “We recognize that people affected are working for us. They don’t have all the upside, so they shouldn’t have all the downside.”
“We’re just kind of delaying cash payments. We all know the position that we’re in.”
Ross said he is eager to strike a deal with the players and resume normal league activities, but blamed the players for the labor mess, not the owners who opted out of the collective bargaining agreement two years ago and took the NFL on a collision course with the lockout.
“Who the hell wants to own a team and not play?” he said. “It’s about having a system that works. It’s not about a bunch of greedy owners. It’s a bunch of players looking to see how much they can really get.”
Ross decried the players’ sense of “entitlement” at the NFL owners’ meetings in March, and reiterated Wednesday that negotiating with the players is not like negotiating with a typical labor union.
“When you’re dealing with guys earning over $1 million a year — the average salary is, what, $1.87 million? — you’re not talking about the same kind of labor issues,” Ross said. “There should be no sympathy in the labor movement in America for these ballplayers. It’s a different deal.”