How Premier League players took it to owners and helped the coronavirus cause directly

This is the Morning Win.  Nate Scott is filling in for Andy Nesbitt this week.

Soccer players in England have been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to how to best support their country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, but have come up with a brilliant solution that also strikes back at unfair demands put on them by the owners.

Let's dive in: In England, the Premier League is the biggest sporting league by a mile, and there was real pressure on the players to do their part.

It reached the point where the league asked players to take a 30% pay cut while the league was suspended due to the global outbreak of coronavirus. The players' union rejected it.

There was danger in doing this, of course. By rejecting pay cuts, Premier League players were opening themselves up to the argument that they were being greedy, and heartless, and not willing to part with their money in a time of trouble.

But Wayne Rooney of all people ended up writing a column in The Times about this, and his argument was a sound one — Sure, he wrote, he'd be happy to give money to a worthy cause. But he asked: Why are players taking a cut to give money back not to healthcare workers or team employees, but rather to the team owners, most of whom are billionaires?

Rooney's argument was simple: I'm happy to donate money, as long as I know where the money is going. If it's going to team employees or healthcare workers, by all means. But, he argued, I'm not giving it back to the team owners with nothing but an assurance that they'll do the right thing.

By asking players to take a pay cut, Rooney and many Premier League players argued, the Premier League was essentially saying that the team owners knew better what to do with the money than these simple footballers.

So the players took control back. The captains for all the Premier League teams linked up and formed #PlayersTogether, an initiative where professional soccer players would make large, joint donations to NHS England, the governing body for health services in the country.

In doing so, the players will most likely give up similar money to what they would have gotten in a pay cut, and instead of essentially returning the money to the owners, they're getting it to the frontline workers who are fighting coronavirus in their country.

It was smart, it makes them look good, and it shows how complex these issues are. Well done to them.

Thursday's Big Winner: Tom Brady

QB Tom Brady (Photo: David Butler II, USA TODAY Sports)

Brady gave a wide-ranging interview with Howard Stern where he actually said some interesting things. (Some problematic things, too.) But most notably, Brady opened up on his marriage to Gisele, and how it was family issues that led to him missing offseason workouts the last two seasons, and nothing to do with Bill Belichick.

Quick Hits: New Raiders stadium, Dinwiddie for GM, NFL Draft issues

– We've got footage of the new, wild Raiders stadium in Las Vegas.

– Spencer Dinwiddie has a plan to fix the Bulls, and it involves trading for himself (and Kevin Durant)

– The NFL Draft, held virtually, is already running into all sorts of problems.

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