As iBozz ironically points out the way one says things is often mission critical.
From what i have been lead to believe Sale players were openly informed that the ramifications of Covid were so widespread that the ongoing survival of the club, and indeed the sport, was in a grave danger, so much so that a reappraisal of realities had been required and that the salary cap was to be immediately reduced by 25%. They therefore felt that in order for us to continue TOGETHER as a highly competitive team and club for the next 4 years, vying for top honours, Sale's management proposed an immediate across the board reduction in contractual salaries by 25% from top to bottom so as to remain under the salary cap. This to be reviewed as soon as the economics permitted. The whole club all got on board once reassurances had been given to take individual circumstances into consideration.
At one or two other Premiership clubs it appears the threat of termination of contracts if a player wouldn't agree by a set date (to a 25% cut) was more of a sort of ultimatum given, with significantly different end results.
Both refer to exactly the same set of circumstances. All Premiership clubs were in agreement following a PRL meeting that a 25% tightening of belts was immediately required to mitigate against financial disaster for the league as a whole. Them all agreeing to go back to their clubs and seek player and staff agreement. They agreed to be completely unified in that approach and not to take advantage of other clubs in any fall-out, by using their slightly better financial circumstance.
That is, after all, what happened is it not?
Lord Elpus is correct in that any clubs staff/players could have taken it personally in a completely negative manner, with much of it dependent on the way it was done, and the togetherness of the club in facing the new reality.
I suppose it all depends on the exact words used and the pre-existing mental attitude of the people involved.
Just like posts and their interpretation!