Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
Magazine tells clearly how NFL fleeces taxpayer
Article tears apart the tax-free status of the league, and subsidies it receives
The article focuses on taxpayer screwings that have been covered by the Reader, such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and, of course, the San Diego Chargers.
Author Easterbrook notes that "the extremely profitable and one of the most subsidized organizations in American history, the NFL also enjoys tax-exempt status." He shows how Congress granted this status disingenuously in 1966. "Apple or Exxon Mobil can only dream of legal permission to function as a monopoly; the 1966 law was effectively a license for NFL owners to print money." The league is considered non-profit even though its billionaire team owners are absolutely rolling in taxpayer-financed profits.
The story is filled with anecdotes that reveal what a scam the NFL is. In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service wanted non-profits to tell what their officers raked in each year. The NFL wanted an exemption. Wailed the league's vice president for public affairs, "I finally get to the point where I'm making 150 grand, and they want my name and address on the [disclosure] form." The IRS turned down the league, and it turned out that the VP was making $2 million a year.
The NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, made $30 million in 2011. Not bad for a so-called non-profit that rakes in obscene dough from taxpayers.
For his book, Easterbrook wanted to interview Goodell.. Permission was granted. But when the NFL found out the author wanted to talk about tax exemptions and health issues, the interview was canceled.
More like this:
- Say, what happened with that whole Ray Rice thing? — Jan. 7, 2015
- Sportin' life: how billionaire owners make out — Dec. 20, 2012
- Internal Revenue Service suspends Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith's nonprofit Great Friends Foundation — Aug. 24, 2012
- Goodell Shuts Door on NFL Teams Moving — Feb. 3, 2012
- NFL Head Steps on His Tongue; Chargers Denuded — Jan. 8, 2011