After constant bad press and public outcry from players and fans, the Oakland A’s have finally decided to pay their minor league players.
Back in the middle of May, the Oakland A’s made the decision to stop paying their minor league players. They were not going to release any of those players; instead, they were going to keep them as unpaid employees. In doing so, they kept those players from seeking unemployment or paid opportunities elsewhere, essentially forcing their minor leaguers into indentured servitude.
Naturally, that decision was met with outrage. Fans, players, and baseball scribes condemned the decision. Team owner John Fisher even came out of the woodwork to try to defuse the anger at the franchise, but only succeeded in pouring more petrol on the fire.
Finally, the A’s have seen the light. They have reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor league players and have even set up a fund for their furloughed employees. According to Fisher, he “concluded that [he] made a mistake.”
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That statement is completely unbelievable. The A’s were the first team to decide not to pay minor leaguers, a calculated gamble where a low budget franchise could attempt to get away with crying poverty. Surely, if the A’s were able to slide through without paying players, other low budget teams would attempt the same maneuver.
Instead, that move backfired in an extraordinary fashion. Oakland quickly became alone on an island, with no other team willing to face that backlash. The Nationals attempted to cut the pay of their minor leaguers by 25%, and reversed course within a day due to the reaction from players and fans.
It is certainly great to see Fisher come to his senses. But this never should have been an issue at all. The A’s preach community and family, claiming that everyone is in this together. Instead, ownership showed they were out for themselves, a disastrous move considering the current economic and social situation. Now they will need to work to remove this stain from their legacy.
The Oakland A’s have finally seen their light and will pay their minor league players. It’s about time.