Recession? What recession?

The NFL and Washington Redskins want us to believe they’re feeling the cash crunch like the rest of America in this global recession.
Just ask the more than 20 employees the Redskins fired after the conclusion of the NFL season back in January—none of which were among the player or coaching ranks.
“[Redskins’ COO Mitch Gershman] said that the revenue from tickets and season tickets was not where it needs to be,” one anonymous employee told The Washington Post at the time.
“It’s going to be really tough for the people who are still there because we were all already wearing two to three hats,” the source noted. “Now, they’re all going to be wearing four to six hats, and the compensation is not changing.
“I guess that’s typical when businesses do this kind of thing, but that doesn’t make it any easier.”
Certainly layoffs seem to be a reality of today’s economic climate, and it’s a real eye-opener when North America’s premiere sport feels the pinch. The NFL office has laid off 150 employees in its various operations while league commissioner Roger Goodell even has taken a 25 percent cut of his $11 million per annum salary, though it will return to normal levels next season.
Tough times, indeed.
(On a side note, Goodell is not even the highest-paid commish in professional sports as Bud Selig, who has done a fine job cracking down on steroids in baseball—or not, hauls in $18.4 million a season).
There has been irresponsible spending at all levels in sports, and things needs to change now if we expect to get out of what is a tough economic period. If that takes cutting back, then so be it.
But what does it say to those 20-odd employees when the team that just fired you announces the signing of free agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (previously of the Tennessee Titans) to a seven-year, $100-million contract?
The deal includes $41 million in guaranteed money, so even if he was to go down with a career-ending injury in Game 1 next fall, he’d still be retiring to an oceanfront property in the Bahamas.
Wow, I guess season ticket sales must have taken a big turn for the better over the last month, right? Maybe you can hire back those employees now, Mr. Gershman?
I wonder how those fired employees and their families feel knowing collectively the money they would cost the Redskins wouldn’t even register in the same ballpark, let alone the same football stadium, as Haynesworth’s gross pay?
Sorry, Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder, you aren’t fooling anyone. Cutting out the people who actually need the money so you can spend lavishly on a player reeks of a money squeeze if I ever saw one. And while I understand football is a business, this does not seem to be a fair way of going about things.
In fact, this depressing news just magnifies the concerns I have about all the layoffs we’re hearing about of late. Are some business owners just using the “recession” as an excuse to cut so-called dead weight and not face public scrutiny for doing so?
“It was very sad,” one of the departing Redskin employees said. “We were all just sitting there waiting to see who was next. There were a lot of tears shed.”
Don’t waste your tears because I can assure you there will be none lost in return.
Sad times, indeed.

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