Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Quote of the day - how the NFL is a corrupting enterprise that exploits its players and its fans


It happened. We all got terribly excited about the Superbowl. Even in England where we have rugby league which is the same game but without armour, forward passes or endless delays to fit in advertising.

Anyway here's Matthew Stevenson on the NFL:

The National Football League runs on backhand payments to athletic organizations, sweetheart contracts, and monopoly pricing, in addition to screwing over its fan base by moving teams around. Its reward for urban price fixing isn’t prosecution for collusion under antitrust laws (it is exempt). Instead, it is awarded a national day of reverence, Super Sunday, during which 30 seconds of ad time costs $5 million, and the strategic national stockpile of guacamole is severely threatened.

The owners don’t actually own teams, but are general partners in a football trust, which allows them to share equally in all television revenues and collectively 'bargain' with concussed players, who are only free agents after five years of indentured service. By then, most are broken men. The league's attitude toward the declining mental of health of its retired players could be summarized as “So sue me”.

Yes, a few stars make big money, for a while, but teams are rarely on the hook for long-term guaranteed contracts and salaries are “capped,” they say, “in the interest of competition.”

No words being minced there and a stark reminder to those fans of proper football who call for salary caps, pooled income and other madatory controls on the operation of the game. Be careful what you wish for.  And read the whole article in New Geography - it's worth it.


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