A lot of big businesses, like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, that received millions from coronavirus relief legislation have given it back. Harvard University faced similar backlash when it was found the school, which is sitting on a $40 billion endowment, took $9 million in relief from the CARES Act — President Trump even called out Harvard by name during a press briefing to let both the school and the public know they’d be paying the money back.
Now another “small business,” the Los Angeles Lakers, has told ESPN it would be returning around $4.6 million.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have returned approximately $4.6 million that they received from a federal government program intended to help small businesses .. the team said in a statement to @ESPN #ppp https://t.co/tDrMOl3nVc
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) April 27, 2020
We imagine ticket takers and concession workers might need paycheck protection, but not LeBron James.
The Lakers, one of the NBA’s most profitable franchises, applied for relief through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, and were among the companies and nonprofits granted loans during the first round of distributions. But after reports that several large or highly capitalized entities were securing aid from the program’s initial $349 billion pool — while hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses were shut out — the Lakers said they returned the money.
Hey, they qualified under the legislation as written.
Let me get this straight. The Lakers, an organization valued at $4.4B, applied for relief through the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program. A program intended to provide economic relief for small businesses??? https://t.co/0ix76D8orY
— ShavaughnB (@shavaughnceo) April 27, 2020
But once they heard that the money had run out before small businesses that needed it actually got a share, they decided to return it. At least, that’s their story.
I realize the program was sloppily implemented, and left loopholes that allowed this.
But WHY would these organizations do this, realizing they were obeying the letter, NOT the spirit of the program?
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
— Splenetic Badger (@KvetcherNtheRye) April 27, 2020
Why did all these big businesses even apply for what was always labeled a small business loan.
— Dana Olita Ogden (@danaolitaogden) April 27, 2020
Lack of ethics.
— Lazy Thumbz (@T_RoyReborn) April 27, 2020
Because they never thought that it would be made public. Now that the leaks and investigative journalism has started, it's run-and-hide time.
— Corrosive Rabbit (@CorrosiveRabbit) April 27, 2020
— jason wheeler (@j_dece) April 27, 2020
Under what f*cking circumstance does a banker think the @Lakers qualified for a PPP loan? And who the f*ck on the Lakers thought this would be a good idea?
— Greg Pollowitz (@GPollowitz) April 27, 2020
As a @Lakers fan, let me state that this is disgusting. They had no right to apply for a loan, and I'm glad they've been found out, shamed & gave it back.
— Shawn Williams (@shawniedw2) April 27, 2020
wow, I thought I couldn't hate the Lakers any more than I did. I was wrong.
— Clue Heywood (@ClueHeywood) April 27, 2020
Returning stolen goods to the fence who’s giving them to you for their own purposes is not admirable
— Dartger (@Dartger) April 27, 2020
I feel like we have witnessed the biggest heist in history. Sure some of the money will get returned, but I am guessing a vast majority won't.
— Aaron (@Jimmyjiim) April 27, 2020
Unbelievable. The oversight on this program was nonexistent.
— Thyme (@thymeandbasil) April 27, 2020
Could the NBA be anymore unlikable?
— hey it's Franklin (@chdwht) April 27, 2020
— Cypress Ed 🌐 (@CypressEd) April 27, 2020
Let’s see if any other NBA teams step up to admit they took millions from the program.
VIP » Hot take: Rather than refund the cost of NBA tickets, give the money to arena workers since it’s just disposable income https://t.co/hKrZyr9pHC
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) March 12, 2020