Warriors organization pledges $1 million to aid arena employees during coronavirus shutdown

With NBA games suspended for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, much of Friday’s league news surrounded players and organizations pledging financial assistance for arena and stadium employees impacted by the league’s shutdown.

The Golden State Warriors became the latest team to make a big donation. The team announced Friday night ownership, players and coaches were pledging $1 million to a disaster relief fund to aid Chase Center employees during the NBA hiatus.

In a statement, the Warriors said the team employs “more than 1,000 part-time employees who work in various functions at each game, including food service, security, guest services, custodial and more.”

On Wednesday, the NBA suspended its season due to the ongoing pandemic after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell subsequently also tested positive.

In remarks Thursday, commissioner Adam Silver said the shutdown will last at least a month, and he left open the possibility the NBA doesn’t play another game in the 2019-20 season.

“Our players, coaches, ownership and management have been focused on creating a way to assist our part-time employees,” Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob said in the statement. “We are addressing the potential hardships these hard-working individuals may encounter during this hiatus in the NBA season. While everyone and every business is impacted, those who are fortunate enough to be in a position to help, need to help.”

The Warriors’ creation of the fund comes after several players and teams announced plans to make donations to aid arena employees. Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love was the first on Thursday, pledging $100,000. On Friday, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo also said he’d make a $100,000 donation.

Also on Friday, New Orleans Pelicans rookie phenom Zion Williamson pledged to cover the salaries of all Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said he is paying workers as if games are being played, as are the Cavaliers.

“The men and women who work our games at Chase Center are critical in providing an incredible game-night experience for our fans, including of course, the popcorn vendors,” Warriors star Steph Curry said in the statement. “As players, we wanted to do something, along with our ownership and coaches, to help ease the pain during this time.”

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