The National Football League is at the center of a growing debate over patriotism. Players in the league are regularly kneeling for the national anthem, and a majority of Americans are offended by the anti-American sentiments.
Now the NFL received news that is turning the protest movement on its head. According to The Washington Times, the NFL has come out against the House Republicans’ tax cut bill. This move is going to set them back even if the top NFL officials find a way to deal with the fallout over their kneeling controversy.
The current tax system allowed the NFL to use a loophole enabling the use of taxpayer dollars for building and rebuilding stadiums. The thought process seemed to be that if the NFL can pay their players tens of millions of dollars, they can build a stadium.
The NFL refuses to take this lying down. Instead, they are arguing that they deserve these tax breaks from the government because when they make new stadiums, they create new jobs.
It is important to note that the tax-free municipal bonds that the stadiums were using up until this point technically shouldn’t apply to them. In most cases, these bonds are used in the constructions of roads and hospitals, not football stadiums.
Joe Lockhart, NFL spokesman and a former press secretary for President Clinton, has come out against the tax reform. “You can look around the country and see the economic development that’s generated from some of these stadiums,” he told reporters last week.
At this point, the NFL is the only professional sports league to protest this change. Nothing has come in from Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, or the National Hockey League.
All three of these leagues have declined to comment on the situation. It is unknown whether they plan on taking any sort of action, or if they will let the tax bill go through without protest.
The NFL is under fire since the idea of protesting the national anthem were revitalized. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, started this trend last season, citing his reason as “police brutality” and racial injustice.
The protests were all but forgotten but eventually reemerged again during this season. During Week 2 of the season, over a hundred players and coaches kneeled before the game to combat racial injustice, President Donald Trump, and everything in between.
The new tax reform bill eliminates a loophole the NFL has been using to build stadiums on the taxpayers’ dime. Do you support the new tax reform bill?
When the players started protesting, many fans turned away from the NFL. Ratings went down, and stations like ESPN –who politicized the situation — lost viewers. In fact, it has grown to the point where they are getting ready for more layoffs after Thanksgiving. They have not cited the protests as the main reason, but speculation is soaring.
It seems clear that politics and sports do not mix. When the sports stars and leagues start getting political, it turns the fans away from the games. If it weren’t for the fans, these players would not have million dollars jobs — that should be something they take into consideration moving forward.