Beyond the deflated balls: NFL government welfare

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by Rob Taylor

Stereotypes are cruel generalizations aimed at certain segments of the population as a way to demean their position in society.  For example, people picture the average “Welfare Queen” as a poor minority woman with five kids from four different fathers who is always looking for a way to take advantage of our country’s generous entitlement programs instead of finding a means to be more self-sufficient.

Ironically, that image could not be further from the truth.

It would be surprising to most people to find out that today’s welfare queens look more like wealthy white men from the Fortune 500 list, or an overpaid ball player.  Proving this point is the most subsidized nonprofit organization in American history, the National Football League.

Since 1942, The NFL had been functioning as a nonprofit, but that was not enough for the wealthy team owners.  Using their connections and undue influence on DC politicians, in 1966, they convinced the US Congress to enact Public Law 89-800.  The passage of this edict gave professional football leagues a monopoly regarding broadcasting rights.  Moreover, the law allowed the IRS to amend its code for nonprofits, so the league could officially function with a tax-free status.  This allows team owners to be free from paying federal taxes.  It literally circumvented the system, turning what would become public money into private profit.  The new law put the league in the same prominence as a church, which may explain why some fans treat the sport more like a religion rather than an athletic event.

Unfortunately, the swindling of America by the NFL does not stop with their tax-free status, but has exploded at such an exponential rate the league is currently raking in over a billion dollars a year from taxpayers.  It is unfathomable that the league needs this public money considering the professional football industry makes over ten billion dollars in yearly profits.

How does the NFL get away with taking from the poor to give to the rich?

It starts by the skimming of money from county taxing districts that local communities use for necessities, which would normally benefit everyone more equally.  Politicians in collusion with NFL officials use the insidious process of Tax Increment Financing to steal this money without much public notice, which is a clever siphoning scheme hidden away in the dark corners of the local Urban Renewal Agency.

Urban Renewal Cash Flow

NFL developers are addicted to stadium porn and cannot get enough satisfaction from old arenas already in use, so they have to build improved and more modernized stadiums to satiate themselves.  The league has no problem finding eager local politicians from all over the country to recruit into their public fraud, because public servants are constantly looking for ways to claim they are creating jobs—no matter how much it may cost the people.

They agree on a location to place the stadium and designate that area for redevelopment.  The tax assessor freezes the value of the property.  The public officials collect the taxes over the assessed value of that frozen increment and transfer that money to the Urban Renewal Agency to cover the debt accrued by the sports development project.  The agency does this by pulling a small percentage of money from several other overlapping taxing districts.  These usually consist of districts that provide for schools, colleges, police, sheriffs, judges, jails, and fire departments.  Those are just a few of the basic services that lose important funding, so a select few can play inessential games.  The politicians treat the money as nondiscretionary, meaning they can spend it on anything.

The entire system nurtures a process that diminishes the right to own property, because the UR agency has the authority to use eminent domain on any property owner who refuses to give up their land for a stadium.  It all goes to undermine the stability of the free-market, while unfairly rewarding the very entity committing the theft.  All of these tactics are malevolent devices of government urban renewal redevelopment.

Football used to be an all-American activity, but our easily replaceable Representatives have perverted the game with their capitulation in an immoral practice.  They have given permission to the National Football League to use other peoples land and earnings for their own private gain, which is pure crony capitalism.  If the sport is ever to regain any of its past glory or respect, it will have to stop treating public money as their personal piggy bank, or risk being labeled as a bunch of jock “Welfare Queens.”

Rob Taylor is the founder of, which is a network of individual local government watchdogs.