Saturday, February 09, 2013

The NFL? Really?

(Click on image to enlarge and then please return.)

I don't know why I was so surprised by the fact that the NFL has  lobbyists, but I was.  This news brief from Open Secrets is quite interesting. (You'll have to scroll down a bit to find the article.)

...[T]he NFL spent $1.14 million on lobbying last year. That's down from its record $1.62 million in 2011, but the league has come a long way in its political influence since 1998, when it spent just $360,000 to lobby tax, gaming, and broadcasting issues, according to data.

Now the NFL has much more legislation to monitor. Last year, it lobbied TV programming and copyrights, human growth hormones, player safety and antitrust issues, sports betting and concussion legislation....

As Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington points out, the lobbying spike is largely in response to heightened congressional scrutiny of the league's hormone testing policies, treatment of retired players, procedures for dealing with concussions and, related to all of those, its disability policies. Concussions and their long-term consequences have created a particularly heated debate, as OpenSecrets has reported.  ...

The National Football Players Association isn't nearly as active as the NFL on K Street, just as players are far less likely to make campaign contributions than league and team managers. The NFLPA spent $120,000 lobbying in 2012 and $230,000 the year before, mostly to weight in on antitrust, labor and telecommunications issues on behalf of the union's players. The players' union doesn't have a PAC.   [Emphasis added]

I guess the anti-trust issues are at the top of the list of concerns the NFL owners are fussing over, and rightfully so.  Like other pro sports in this country, the NFL has been given a license to skate when it comes to monopolies and the like.  What intrigues me about the chart, however, is that when head injuries to football players really hit the news, the NFL really hit the lobbying trail, making certain Congress didn't look too hard on the issue, so hard that it might impair the league owners from continuing to make millions.

That the NFL players' union would get involved makes sense in light of that, although it isn't pouring the kind of money into the effort their owners are. 

Sound familiar?

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