Some corporations, like GE and Bank of America, have to resort to creative accounting to make it look like they lost money to avoid paying federal taxes. The National Football League is not one of them. A recent Change.org petition reads as follows:
“Despite the fact that it is a $9Billion/Year industry, the National Football League (NFL) continues to enjoy status as a non-profit organization — meaning it doesn’t have to pay federal corporate taxes.
The Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, makes nearly $30 million a year — earning more than the heads of companies like Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart. Through TV deals alone, the NFL has inked nearly $30 billion with various television networks. And so often, fans like you and me are asked to foot the bill for new stadiums through our own taxes.
Yet despite being the most profitable sports league in the entire world, the NFL does not pay federal taxes.
The NFL should pay their fair share towards our economy! Just like Major League Baseball, which gave up its nonprofit status in recent years, as well as the National Basketball Association, the NFL should not be able to hide under a nonprofit status in order to avoid paying federal taxes.
The NFL has methodically worked to shift all the power to their side, leaving players, employees and PARTICULARLY THE FANS little say in what goes on with the league. We deserve a say, but do not wish to boycott our teams! Therefore, we are calling on our elected representatives to revoke the tax-exempt status we bestowed upon the league half a century ago. Please sign this petition, and let Congress know that you want them to reconsider the NFL’s tax exempt status.”
What’s remarkable to me is that, while athletes are supposed to be big and tough and are ready to pick a fight – on twitter or on the field – with their fellow players, they don’t speak out about issues like this. Many of the most popular players cultivate “rebellious” images by growing their hair long, arguing with officials, fighting on the field, signing footballs after touchdowns, etc. In recent years, some have even begun to speak up about gay rights and immigration reform. But I’ve yet to see an NFL player (or MLB or NBA) player criticize the hypocrisy of their employers’ reliance on taxpayer welfare while the government cuts benefits for workers and the un(der)employed.
Nor do they speak out in support of striking workers at the stadiums where they perform for the public. Workers at the SF Giants AT&T stadium do not receive health insurance during the offseason. In a recent article on their strike against the Giants, one concession worker said “Unless I’m going to die, I’m not going to see a doctor” during the offseason. Can you imagine if the players faced the same situation?
The Giants received some of the most valuable land in SF from the city at no cost to build their stadium, and tried to get taxpayers to pay for the construction before voters rejected that idea. Their argument is that the team generates jobs and revitalizes the local economy. What kind of jobs? Not ones that take care of people, apparently. Maybe soon they’ll invent a PED that pumps athletes up with the strength to speak up about that.