There’s more to say about football history than just the weather

November 3, 2015

Dear Zenith News:

Thank you for the interesting article regarding football history [“Boy meets world: Football and the weather,” Twin Ports Outdoors, October 13, 2015]. Please consider following this up with an exposé article to educate your readers on the reality that the NFL pays no income taxes and how they are structured. Delve into their connections regarding glorification of the military machine in this country.

Look into how the Packers are the only team that is owned by the fans, rather than the .01 percent tycoon element that owns the rest of the teams and the immense tax-free profits. And how the league has a rule that will not allow any other examples of how the Packers are owned—this is not allowed to occur again. Profits are privatized; costs are socialized and externalized.

Why is the public paying for all these playgrounds, for instance? Stadiums. Seattle and Minneapolis are both examples of possibly blatant corruption. Ralph Nader called the process in Seattle some time ago, when people were still as outraged by this sort of theft of public tax dollars as the first time. An election was clearly bought and paid for to get that football stadium built out there. Now it is commonplace for this to occur. If investigative journalism was allowed to occur, perhaps this would be mitigated. Don’t just glorify the game. Take it one step further now and truly educate your readers. This is what will make your paper worth more.

I don’t give a rip, by the way, about professional football, but political corruption is another issue altogether. Please tie this all together for the befuddled masses who can always use a different bedtime story.

Keep up the good work!

Best Regards,
Greg Rupert

Editor’s reply: Thanks for your letter, Mr. Rupert. While not disputing your points about the obscene amounts of money in professional sports, the political corruption that probably goes along with that, or the dubious wisdom of spending millions of public dollars on football stadiums, it is no longer true that the National Football League (NFL) does not pay taxes. As of April 28, 2015, the NFL voluntarily gave up the 501(c)6 status it had since 1942, which provides tax-exemption to business leagues, boards of trade, and professional organizations.

However, this is not particularly good news. The league’s 32 teams were already taxable business entities. The NFL makes about $9.5 billion a year and will now pay about $100 million in taxes, yet the public will lose the transparency that came with its tax-exempt status. As a taxable business, the NFL will no longer have to disclose the large amount of information that non-profit organizations are required to make public, such as, in the NFL’s case, their sources of revenue, recipients and amounts of league grants, etc. The NFL’s relinquishment of tax exemption has sold the public’s right-to-know for a proverbial bowl of soup.

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