Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has shown his true concern rests in the gains and losses column, as opposed to the big picture.
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has long shown a prioritization of profits over everything, as nearly all of his decisions are motivated by money. This is obviously great for the bottom dollar, but unfortunately for Fertitta there are far more important things than revenue.
When the coronavirus pandemic first took effect in the United States, Fertitta was very outspoken about how it’s negatively impacted his businesses in China, which shows where his mind was focused on amidst a global crisis. Fertitta was speaking about how he’s been essentially breaking even with his businesses in China.
Sure, the whole purpose of being in business is to generate revenue, but breaking even isn’t necessarily as bad as many other business owners and businesses have fared. Fertitta stated how he’s cut the hours of his workers to mitigate the fact that he’s been making only one million per day.
Fertitta also initially decided to cut the benefits of the workers of his Post Oak Hotel, in attempts to offset the profits he’s lost out on, but reversed course due to the backlash he faced. This was very similar to the decision made by Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris, who tried to force his employees into a salary reduction, only to reverse course due to the public outcry.
For Fertitta, the cost-cutting measures have been much more significant than Harris, however, as he’s furloughed 70 percent of his employees. All in all, Fertitta has laid off 40,000 workers from his casinos and restaurants, as reported by Davide Scigliuzzo of Bloomberg.
Fertitta’s quote is below:
“We are basically doing no business. This is very hard on a lot of working families, but we have to survive or there is no company.”
Although this is a very short quote, there’s a lot to take away from this, but it’s not surprising that Fertitta is thinking about the survival of the company, as opposed to the survival of the working families whom he referenced, which is his latest example of putting profits over people.
For starters, it’s not like he’s not still bringing in profits, as restaurants have been allowed to remain open during the shutdown. Sure, he’s not raking in the same amount of profits as he would have otherwise been bringing in, but we’re talking about someone who has a net worth of 4.4 billion, so it’s not like he can’t withstand it.
But profits aside, there’s a much more important thing Fertitta has totally forgotten about in all of this: human lives. There comes a point where people’s lives matter more than the funds generated by businesses, and a life-threatening pandemic is one of those times.
Instead, Fertitta stated how he hopes the shutdown will end in a few weeks, for the sake of the economy. But if such a decision were made, shouldn’t it be based on the progressions and the number of recoveries we’ve seen, and not to boost the economy?
Fertitta had already started taking cost-cutting measures before stay at home orders were even issued. In fact, many companies have yet to lay off employees and have yet to dangle their employees’ benefits in the manner in which Fertitta initially did with the workers at his hotel.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there were several owners around the league who were watching how the 76ers’ salary reduction unfolded, so they could do something similar, but he stopped short of saying exactly who those owners were. It almost seems like a guarantee that Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was one of those owners, considering his stance on this crisis.
We also need to remember the fact that the Houston Rockets were one of only three teams that voted against playing in front of empty arenas, which is another example of Tilman’s fascination with money.
We also can’t forget about the fact that there were rumblings during the 2018-19 season of how Fertitta didn’t like the contract Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey doled out to former Rockets point guard Chris Paul, which seems like something that should have been kept in-house.
It’s not surprising, however, as we know Fertitta maintains a watchful eye on the books, but CP3 essentially forced the Rockets to give him a massive payday when he opted into the final year of his contract as part of the trade.
Ever since this crisis started, all we’ve heard Fertitta talk about is profits and profit losses, and not a peep about families or people. Unfortunately, Fertitta hasn’t seemed to grasp the big picture, and can’t stop himself from thinking about how his businesses are struggling, as opposed to what really matters most: the lives of the people.