The NFL's history of protecting thugs and hiding brain injuries is inexcusable. But the real outrage is that taxpayers are funding the construction of coliseums so that bruisers can smash each other in the mouth and billionaires can get richer.
Minnesota taxpayers paid $506 million so child beater Adrian Peterson could play in a new stadium. Zygi Wilf bought the Vikings in 2005 for $600 million, and with a new stadium under construction, his team is now worth over a billion dollars. Wilf can thank Minnesota taxpayers for that extra value.
Local, state and federal taxpayers all subsidize NFL billionaires to build new stadiums. Bloomberg News reported in 2012 that the NFL's stadium building spree would cost the U.S. $4 billion in federal tax dollars. That's billion, with a "B."
Accused wife beater, running back Jonathan Dwyer is out of the Arizona Cardinals lineup, and Arizona taxpayers are out millions to build a stadium for the Cardinals. According to Bloomberg, tax exemptions for the Cardinals are $125.9 million.
How does this work? Local governments can issue tax-free bonds to build schools, courthouses, roads, or other projects that benefit the people. NFL owners convince states and municipalities to establish quasi-public organizations so that they can also issue tax-free bonds to build new stadiums. These "public benefit" corporations issue bonds for the owners, and instead of paying taxes to benefit the public the NFL owners pocket the cash.
For example, the Maryland Stadium Authority was created to bring football to Baltimore, where the behavior of Ravens players like Ray Rice and Ray Lewis is infamous.
When Jerry Jones, who is worth $2.7 billion, wanted to build a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys, the city of Arlington, TX, issued tax-fee bonds to build "Jerry World." Locals and visitors also help Jerry because the city raised the sales tax, the hotel tax and the car rental tax to fund the stadium.
Another benefit to Jerry Jones was outlined last year in The Atlantic Monthly, "How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers," where Greg Easterbook wrote: "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, the property taxes of average people were raised to make up the difference. And according to Bloomberg, to pay for this palace in Dallas, "the subsidy to bondholders will be $65.3 million over 29 years."
The Dallas Cowboys are now worth $3.2 billion. Jerry Jones should send each and every taxpayer a thank you note.
This is why NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made $44.2 million last year. He negotiates deals to put more money in owners' pockets. The NFL claims these deadly coliseums help local communities. Don't buy it.
The NFL's lax approach to concussions and brain damage shows that the league doesn't care about players either. NFL owners make billions throwing gladiators to the lions. Nothing sells like blood and guts on the field. And if the violence spills over into the gladiators' private lives, owners accepted it. That is, until recently.
America is catching on.
It's horrific. Women and children are getting beaten by young men, fresh out of college, who get paid millions to get hit in the head a lot. They are college graduates, yet some of them can't speak in complete sentences when they're interviewed on television.
With taxpayers, fans and TV throwing millions at these players, they live in a fantasy world of self-importance. And now it looks like college players will get paid. Throwing more money at kids to bash their heads is not the answer. The NFL is a national tragedy that we're all vested in, football fan, or not.
It's too late for players like Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Dwyer and Greg Hardy. But where does it end?
There must be a team of straight-talking coaches, professors, sociologists, medical doctors and psychologists to educate and instill a moral code into these players while they're still in college. Once they're adults, it's too late, and they must be banned from the NFL for bad behavior.
But more importantly, stop the tax-free financing of coliseums for would-be Caesars to sacrifice young men and their wives. When the Giants and Jets wanted new stadiums, New York and New Jersey taxpayers wanted no part of it. The result, MetLife Stadium where these teams play was privately financed, and the billionaires that own these teams are doing just fine.