Ending the NFL Dole

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an excellent piece for the October 2013 edition of The Atlantic, Greg Easterbrook (who, among other things, is one of the best writers today writing about sports,) calls our attention to one of the most egregious and unjustifiable forms of corporate welfare: the subsidies that state, local, and national governments give to professional sports.

The particular focus of Easterbrook’s ire is one of the biggest hands feeding him: the National Football League, and he bites hard. The NFL, he suggests, manages to keep a small number of team owners (and a modest number of players) insanely, billion-dollar-plus rich, all while taxing you and me as a form of insurance to protect the profits coming from that team.

This is corporate welfare, pure and simple, and needs to be ended.

In a way, it is slightly unfair to pick on the NFL, because the problem extends far beyond that sport. The public carries the can for major-league baseball teams, for MSL soccer stadia, and for auto racing venues (see our commentary on the latter here.) It should be against the law to appropriate public funds to support private business ventures, especially when the public is denied the benefit from the revenues thus collected.

Sosa, McGwire, and The Hall

Sosa says he and McGwire belong in Hall of Fame”
Pensacola News Journal
pnj.com

For the record, the heores of American baseball accomplished their feats of skill and sportsmanship all without the benefit of chemical enhancement, unless you could call a hangover or a cheek-full of Redman and bubblegum “chemical enhancement.”

If we ever walk through cooperstown to see Sosa and McGwire immortalized in bronze, we could be certain that corruption of the game was now complete. And then, we could admit to ourselves that we have become a society where the destination had become more important than the journey, where cheaters prosper, and where the cynical pursuit of Mammon had replaced everything our forefathers held dear.

Fortunately, I don’t think were there just yet.

Get over it, Sammy. You made your choices. Now be a big boy and live with the results: an empty spot in the Hall where you could have been, and an asterisk next to your name in every record book.