Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl took aim at Maven ownership and CEO James Heckman late Sunday night on social media. The since deleted messages, captured by Awful Announcing, read:
""Thankful to have a job, but the people who were laid off from SI this week at least got a good severance package. If we're laid off July 1, we get absolutely nothing. Plus Maven has already decreased my salary 30% and is trying to make that permanent beyond the pandemic, which is shameful. Who would take advantage of a pandemic to permanently reduce someone's salary beyond that pandemic? Maven and James Heckman would.""
Sports Illustrated endured another round of layoffs last week, with some high-profile writers and editors among the cuts. Wahl, one of the remaining marquee names, reportedly reflects a growing internal crisis of confidence.
To the outside, what's playing out there is the worst nightmare of any newly-acquired property.
With the obvious caveat that businesses everywhere are being forced to make difficult financial decisions right now and will have more to make in the future, it'd be a galling prospect to ask a loyal employee for a 30 percent salary cut while offering no hope of recouping those losses on the other side of this crisis.
Journalists, sadly, are extremely familiar with the idea of sacrificing for the the greater good in the wallet department. A plethora of outlets -- both reported and otherwise -- are having staff do that very thing right now. But most have at least create an illusion of better things to come by stating a willingness to dive into the books when normalcy returns.
One can certainly understand Wahl's frustration, even if you question his public methods. One would hope there's no further fallout from him airing this grievance as his loss would be yet another blow.