10 Horrible Controversies Regarding NFL
The National Football League has millions of followers all the world over, and these people follow the sport. NFL itself is a huge organization, with thousands of people involved in its operations and functioning, as well as the games, including players, cheerleaders, coaches, managers, etc. Transactions of millions take place through player transfers and purchases, sponsorships, etc. The teams and the players are extremely wealthy: among the wealthiest in the world. In fact, the NFL is not just a company: it is an industry in itself. However, when there is popularity, it is likely that there will also be rumors and scandals. Let us take a look at 10 Horrible Controversies Regarding NFL.
10 Horrible Controversies Regarding NFL
1. The NFL’s Domestic Violence Epidemic
Several NFL players have been arrested with domestic violence charges. Yet, they are still active members of the NFL teams, for instance, Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams of the Seattle Seahawks. But these men managed to plead their charges down to disorderly conduct, and walked off with probation. Even when McDaniel had his girlfriend’s head hit against the pavement when he shoved her, he was merely suspended for one game. Former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said that he had seen “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence cases being brushed under the rug during his time in the league. NFL continues to let players like Ray Rice play on, even before their charges of violence against wives or girlfriends are dropped, paying no heed to the serious issue.
2. Exploitation of Breast Cancer
Every year, the NFL partakes in spreading breast cancer awareness, with pink shoes and pink gloves, and sells pink NFL memorabilia. However, only 8 percent of the money it raises in this manner actually go to breast cancer research. Apparently, for every $100 raised from the merchandise, $50 goes to retailers, $37.50 goes to the manufacturer, $1.25 is taken by the NFL, and the remaining is donated to the American Cancer Society. Even the society is considered more a bureaucracy than an effective funder of cancer research, and its CEO, John Seffrin, got a compensation of $832,000 for 2014. It receives $11.25 from the NFL, but only $8.01 goes to cancer research. It is a pertinent question why such little goes to effective cancer research, of money raised specifically for the purpose.
3. Tax Exemptions
The NFL Makes $10 Billion Per Year. However, it pays $0 in taxes. It has no problem in over-paying the executives, like NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whose 2012 salary was revealed to be $44 million. While the NFL is no charity that can take donations, it classifies itself a non-profit “trade association,” and is financed by 32 privately-owned, for-profit member teams (except the Green Bay Packers). The NFL’s operations are solely for the profit of the member teams that earn $10 billion each year. It also gets the same tax exemption like churches and social justice organizations who try to make contributions to the community. However, the NFL is not the only one. Tax exemptions is something that the National Basketball Association also gets away with, despite the large earnings.
4. Stadiums Financed With Taxpayer Money
NFL stadiums are financed with the money of taxpayers, and in billions. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, wanted to construct a $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington, Texas. Despite being worth $4.2 billion, he asked taxpayers to front $325 million. While new stadiums may provide additional economic benefits to the city, this benefit is not enough to invest such a huge sum, instead of using the money to build schools, hospitals, etc. Author Gregg Easterbrook presents this argument in his book, and he also points out that 70 percent of the cost of building the stadiums, summing up to billions of dollars, comes from the money of the local taxpayers, even though the teams are owned by billionaires. The tax money which is paid by the general public for tangible benefits, is wasted.
5. Low payment to Cheerleaders
The cheerleaders for the NFL, who are a huge part of the entertainment quotient of the sport, are entitled to a meagre payment of only $3 an hour. If compared, this earning is even less than what the minimum wage earners get in Slovakia. For instance, the Cincinnati Bengals, whose owner has a net worth of $924 million, used to pay their cheerleader, Alexa Brenneman, just $2.85 an hour, and that too for the 300 hours of work she put in, during over half a year. Despite the ludicrous payments to the players and team owners, the cheerleaders end up with low pay and seasonal gigs. While many don’t mind working in this way as a hobby, Lacy T., a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader, went ahead to sue her former employer for paying her $5 less than the minimum wage in the state, with the Bengals cheerleaders joining her lawsuit, as she argued that she even had to fund her own travel and cosmetics.
6. Financial Distress of Former Players
We have already established that the NFL has huge earnings and funds. In fact, we know that the players of NFL are among the highest earning athletes in the world. Yet, almost 80% of the former NFL players suffer from financial distress, as per Sports Illustrated in 2009, which reported that they are either bankrupt, or they exhaust their earnings within just about two years of retiring. Names that come up in this regard are Lawrence Taylor, Terrell Owens, Vince Young and Michael Vick, and these players only make up a small fraction of the large number of players with similar conditions, due to poor investment choices, addictions, supporting entourages, gambling, domestic violence and divorce, etc. Though the NFL holds workshops to educate rookies, it does nothing to care for former players. It even pays no heed to disability benefits.
7. Lack of Female Members
Interestingly, there are no female players, coaches, referees, or even desk commentators in the NFL. When it comes to real action on the field, the NFL has little place for women. The only examples of women in the NFL are when side-line reporters like Michelle Tafoya and Erin Andrews, who are seen during postseason games in mid-winter, as they stand for hours, while their male colleagues sit in heated rooms for the halftime panel discussions with no female panellists. They do not consider women capable of playing alongside men. Notable female players are Julie Harshbarger and Jennifer Welter, playing in the Continental Indoor Football League. Knengi Martin and Natalie Randolph were the only two notable names in high school coaching. The patriarchy is quite starkly visible.
8. Lack of Openly-Gay Players
Apparently, t is not just women, but members of the LGBT community, too, who do not find a place in the NFL, because it has no openly gay players. Apparently, it does not allow the members to have much of a voice. When Michael Sam, a star defensive player from the University of Missouri, came out as gay and kissed his boyfriend, after being announced as the Southeastern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and by the Saint Louis Rams in the NFL draft, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, who cut him, as well, despite his excellent pre-season performance. Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s support for LGBT acceptance was silenced many times, too. It is not likely that the NFL will start to deviate from its LGBT-shunning ways, any time in the near future.
9. Negligence of Long-Term Brain Damage of Players
A number of deaths and suicides of NFL players have taken place over time which are attributed to brain damage of the players. Some of the deaths associated with the NFL include that of Dave Duerson, or the suicide of Junior Seau. The NFL had made an uncomfortable acknowledgement that these are associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which result from repeated concussions. For a long time, it was not a real issue for the NFL, who tried to portray it as a media-created controversy, until in 1994, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue created the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee to publish investigations in this regard. The actively underplays the brain damaged players. Connections between CTE and professional football have been established. But there is hardly any initiative.
10. Negligence of Human Growth Hormone Testing
As such, NFL has no program for the testing of Human Growth Hormone in the players. The NFL and their Players Association do not see eye to eye on the important issue of performance enhancing drug policy. As a result, the league has no testing program for the banned substance of Human Growth Hormone. The deadlock discusses the functioning of the appeals process, for those players who probably did not test positive for the banned substance, but were incriminated in HIG-arrests, or in scandals of the same nature as the Biogenesis clinic crisis, which rocked the Major League Baseball, exposing high-profile players like Alex Rodriguez. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to gain the authority for these appeals, but the players demand an independent arbitrator. The two sides are locking horns over this matter, and even the government is threatening to intervene.
Scandals rumours and controversies, by their very nature, are often difficult to be verified by the common people. While some sources try to thwart these scandals with rationalizations, many other sources vouch for these as the truth and produce ample proofs, in the midst of people enraged to see such information out and about in the market.