Much dismay has been expressed over the years about the National Football League’s billionaire owners wallowing in piles of money while demanding huge taxpayer giveaways, and the fact that the NFL enjoys nonprofit status and its accompanying tax breaks, and how the rich keep getting richer and the rest of us struggle to fill our gas tanks and refrigerators.
It’s enough to piss off the pope.
If the games weren’t so entertaining I’d be even more pissed.
The Atlantic did a decent job of compiling the public handouts sucked up by various NFL teams in a report last fall: “How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers.”
Here’s what it said about Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys:
Many NFL teams have also cut sweetheart deals to avoid taxes. The futuristic new field where the Dallas Cowboys play, with its 80,000 seats, go-go dancers on upper decks, and built-in nightclubs, has been appraised at nearly $1 billion. At the basic property-tax rate of Arlington, Texas, where the stadium is located, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would owe at least $6 million a year in property taxes. Instead he receives no property-tax bill, so Tarrant County taxes the property of average people more than it otherwise would.
So, like other fans I suppose, I’m torn between feeling like a fleeced patsy, and being entertained.
And, like most other fans, I just say “oh well” and keep watching. You’ve got to admit that last weekend’s spate of playoff games made for thrilling entertainment.
At some point, however, enough is enough. Viewers will turn away, rebel, revolt, stand up for themselves, demand change. Attendance at games has been in decline in recent years.
The NFL might need to curtail its greed unless it wants a bunch of empty stadiums sitting forlornly like ancient Roman coliseums, and me sitting forlornly on my couch on Sundays, watching Breaking Bad reruns and missing the Cowboys.