Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rays concessions relationship gives another black eye

A few days ago, the Tampa Bay Times wrote about a rehab center/homeless shelter that provides people with work but may not be paying them for their labor. The Tampa Bay Times claims the workers provided by New Beginnings worked at several sports facilities in Tampa Bay as well as at the Daytona 500.
While his other work-for-shelter businesses have floundered, Atchison can count on one steady source of income: sporting events. Atchison declined to say how much money New Beginnings makes working games, but acknowledged it's a "substantial portion of our budget."

Since the article first ran, New Beginnings seems to be facing increased scrutiny. According to a follow-up article, investigators are preparing to examine the organization.

Of course, concession employees are not Rays employees. As Cork Gaines pointed out,
The concessions are run by another company, Center Plate and they claim they were unaware that the homeless men were not being paid. If they didn’t know, it is almost certain that the Rays were unaware also.

Despite their distance, the Rays released a statement regarding their relationship. According to the Tampa Bay Times,
"We have spoken with Centerplate and voiced our concerns," the Rays statement said. "They have advised us that they are conducting an internal review of this organization and should reach a decision soon. We are confident they will handle this matter appropriately."

This isn't the first time the Rays have been on the defense regarding Centerplate operations. Last summer, Centerplate CEO Desmond Hague was removed from his position after a video of him kicking a dog surfaced. A few years earlier, Tropicana Field concessions were cited for multiple violations.

Back in 2010, the Rays refused to comment on Centerplate's actions. Now, they are in front of the issue. That's a good sign.

We will see how the Rays and other sports teams in the area continue to respond to this situation.