This morning I saw a blog post by, and then saw a tweet by, and then received an email from a higher up at SB Nation. In short, California recently passed a law that requires that “gig” workers be made actual employees, and that they be compensated accordingly. While the law has come under scrutiny from both gig workers and employers, I think it’s at least a step in the right direction. People being fairly compensated is good, and for the amount of work some site managers put in, I think it’s deserved.
Unfortunately, Vox Media, which owns SB Nation does not see eye to eye with its many contractors. You see, every team in almost every sport has a blog on SB Nation, and Vox contracts out the management of those blogs to people like me. Rather than find a way to make this work with the new labor laws, Vox Media has chosen the nuclear option, and will be terminating the contracts of every contractor based in the state of California, which unfortunately includes me.
I’m short on information and explanation, but to put it simply, I’ll only be able to run Arkansas Fight through March of 2020 if things stay this way. It also means that Saul (who also lives in California) and I will no longer be able to contribute to Wooo Pod Sooie, as it is owned by Vox Media. On a personal level, I’m disappointed that SB Nation chose to inform us about this via a blog post that really didn’t answer any questions, and I’m disappointed that we weren’t dealt with like adults.
This is devastating. To be forced to relinquish management of something that has brought me such unbridled joy and pride because I now live in a different state is devastating. I don’t know what the future holds for Arkansas Fight, and I’m going to fight like hell to keep things on course the way they are, but in the meantime, things look pretty damn grim. I don’t do this for the money. Candidly, I get a 400 dollar budget to make the site run and to compensate my staff of writers. Nobody is in this for the money. We do it because we love the Arkansas Razorbacks, and want to engage with a community of fans.
Of course, this isn’t the immediate end of Arkansas Fight. The site will go on, even if I’m forced out, but these labor laws are likely to come all over the country, so eventually, the independent contracting model will have to stop altogether. Then, I don’t know what community will remain of SB Nation because sites will be run by full time employees who may not even be fans of the teams.
I wish I had something illuminating to offer, or a way to digest this information, but this is honestly all I’ve got. I’ve been in touch with some superiors, and like I said, am going to try to find a solution here, but I’m afraid my hands are tied.
If anything, I want to thank you all for being a part of this journey. This site has seen explosive growth since I came on board, and I owe that in totality to dedicated readers like you.
Thank you. Go Hogs.