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.

We imagine ticket takers and concession workers might need paycheck protection, but not LeBron James.

ESPN reports:

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.

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.

Let’s see if any other NBA teams step up to admit they took millions from the program.


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