A Ton of Sports Teams, Businesses and Agencies Took Advantage of the Small Business Payroll Protection Loans

Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Steven Mnuchin
President Trump Holds News Conference On Paycheck Protection Program | Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Payroll Protection Program was designed to help small businesses weather the storm during the coronavirus pandemic. The forgivable loans were intended to encourage companies to basically just keep paying their employees. With the larger loans now being made public, we are seeing how many sports-related companies got the loans.

In April it came out that the Los Angeles Lakers received one of the loans, but they returned the money saying it should probably go to someone else. A smart move by a team worth over $4 billion. Via ESPN:

"The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program," the Lakers said in a statement to ESPN. "Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community."

Knowing the Los Angeles Lakers qualified for a "small business loan," it should have been very clear that was just the tip of the iceberg. A few weeks later in May, Maven, which operates Sport Illustrated, announced that it had accepted a $5.7 million loan. Maven had layoffs in March and April, which included a public breakup with Grant Wahl. They also had layoffs in October.

Of course, Maven wasn't the only company to take the money. Yeezy, the company owned by billionaire Kanye West, accepted millions. Three of the most profitable boxing promotions - Mayweather, Top Rank and Golden Boy - all took between $350,000 and a million. MLS, NASCAR and Indy Car teams all took loans. As did a number of fairly successful sports agencies.

So... who are we supposed to get mad at here? All these companies did was fill out paperwork. In the words of Namond Brice, "I'll take any [one's] money if he's giving it away." The people at the federal agency in charge of this money are the ones who looked at that paperwork and said, "Yeah, these are small businesses who need help right now."