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Chiefs should rescind lockout pay cuts

Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 04: Owner of the Kansas City Chiefs Clark Hunt looks on during a press conference with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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We’ve been clear in our views that the manufactured financial crisis NFL teams currently are experiencing (which may or may not be an actual financial crisis yet) does not justify taking money away from non-player employees who are merely caught in the crossfire of the lockout.

Though plenty of teams have imposed reductions (with only one, the Ravens, changing its mind), we haven’t specifically called on any of them to reverse course. (As if it would matter.) Sure, we’ve pointed out that an unpaid furlough of one week per month (like the Jets are doing) is more fair than cutting pay but not cutting hours (like the Dolphins are doing). We’ve also pointed out that teams like the Buccaneers, which stuffed its pockets with money not spent on players during 2010’s year without a salary cap or floor, should have set some money aside to pay non-player employees during the lockout.

Today, we’re compelled to specifically mention one team that has no legitimate reason to reduce employee pay, and to ask that team to stop doing it. Per the Kansas City Star, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt (pictured) has said that his team is “leading the league in new ticket sales by a significant margin.” And the Chiefs, like the Buccaneers, took full advantage of the absence of a spending minimum in 2010, with salary commitments as of the middle of September in the neighborhood of $90 million, well below the point at which the salary floor would have been.

So why are the Chiefs cutting employee pay during the lockout? It’s a question that every affected employee -- and his or her family members -- should be asking.

On Friday, Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports ripped generally into the owners who have opted to make non-player employees suffer for some of the seven deadly sins of the men who are unable to figure out how to share ever-growing revenues. Silver specifically singled out the Chiefs, calling Clark Hunt’s decision to cut employee pay “particularly unconscionable.”

We agree with Silver (even though we still disagree with his “let the media into lockout workouts” whining). And we call on the Chiefs to make like the Ravens and rescind the employee pay cuts and refund the money that has been withheld.

We doubt that Hunt or anyone else in the organization will listen to us, but it still feels good to say it. It’ll feel even better if the Chiefs do the right thing by their non-player employees.