Reasons MLB players are objecting to 50-50 split ⚾️


Here we are… another day and still waiting for MLB and the MLBPA to figure out something to end this standoff over revenue sharing. The two sides are still at an impasse and, as a result, the potential of a 2020 season hangs in the balance.
If you need a refresher: MLB owners officially submitted a return to play proposal but players have balked at the revenue-splitting scheme that would divide all revenue 50-50 between the owners and players. It may seem like a fair deal on the surface without context, but there are a handful of reasons why it’s understandable that the players would object to the idea.
Unsurprisingly, many anxious and frustrated fans have started pointing fingers at players, calling them greedy and saying they should be willing to take less money in order to ensure a season and entertain us folks stuck at home. But it’s important to recognize that this is a complex situation and that the players have their reasons — many of which go far beyond greed. Our Dayn Perry did a great job of breaking down the reasons why many players aren’t cool with the 50-50 split:
  • The players already agreed to reduced salaries: This is an important place to start. Back in March, the two sides negotiated plans for a shortened season and agreed that players would get paid prorated salaries based on the number of games played. With an 82-game regular season, the players would receive a little over half of their 2020 salaries. Now the owners want them to give up more money in order to make up for lost ticket revenue with no fans attending games
  • Players, owners have never used revenue splitting: A revenue split would be unprecedented for MLB. And while owners say they want it just for this year, it would possibly be a concession that came back to haunt players down the line. Owners have long coveted a salary cap, and players giving up leverage and establishing precedent for a revenue-based compensation system in future labor negotiations…well, that’s probably bad for business
  • Determining revenues is complicated: MLB has its hands in a lot of different cookie jars and they don’t want to share every revenue stream with players. There are ways they can essentially “hide” revenue (such as partnerships that involve equity) and find other ways to bring in money that isn’t exactly tied to “game day” revenue. Players wouldn’t see that money
  • You can’t trust MLB’s claims: Just like MLB can “hide” revenue, its teams are very capable of fudging numbers for their own benefit. Most MLB teams are not publicly traded entities, which means they’re under no obligation to truthfully disclose revenues, profits, losses, etc. They can be deceptive, and they have already been accused of such after claiming that teams will lose $640K per game without fans this season
  • The players are taking the risk: At the end of the day, the players are the ones going out there (alongside umpires, coaches, managers, essential staff, etc) and putting themselves at risk to contract COVID-19, so why shouldn’t they receive compensation for additional occupational hazard? Owners aren’t going to be putting their health on the line once the season starts
It’s important to keep all of this in mind before blaming the players for pushing back against the initial proposal. Sure, players like Blake Snell might come off a teeny bit dramatic when talking about the standoff but they’ve got their reasons for not jumping at the first deal presented to them.
We’re still fairly early on in the process and there’s time for more negotiating, so maybe there’s progress coming. But if things don’t move, I’m hoping the owners get as much criticism for not presenting a terribly serious offer as the players have gotten for being “greedy.”

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