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Gays And The NFL - Tax Exempt Status At Stake


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When the crazies get going, the going gets crazy. Yesterday there was an article circulating about Jack Burkman, a lobbyist trying to propose a bill that would ban gay players from the NFL.

What's crazy about that? Well everything from the fact that lobbyists can't propose bills, senators and congressmen must introduce them. But putting that behind, the fact that discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by law, this would stand in the way of such a bill. But some bills do pass that are found unconstitutional, then they're struck down.

Think of all that cost. And also think of this: The NFL exists as it does with a congressional granted tax exempt status. The multi-billion dollar industry saves millions because of that designation. You think they want to risk their non-profit status? According to CBS MoneyWatch:

This decision has saved the NFL uncounted millions in tax obligations, which means that ordinary people must pay higher taxes, public spending must decline, or the national debt must increase to make up for the shortfall. Nonprofit status applies to the NFL’s headquarters, which administers the league and its all-important television contracts.

The NFL is already under attack. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has already introduced a bill to strip tax-exempt status from sports leagues. How many co-signers do you think would jump on that bandwagon if Congress were to even entertain a bill banning homosexuals from participating in the league?

Two days ago Jason Collins, an openly gay man, joined the NBA Brooklyn Nets. He played in his first game. And guess what? The league didn't collapse. When number 42, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the MLB, the league didn't collapse. And when and if Michael Sam is drafted by the NFL, the league isn't going to sputter or disintegrate.

Life goes on. Bigotry must fall.

So before ending this post, it might be interesting to know a final fact or two about Jim Burkman, the lobbyist. Via HuffPo:

WASHINGTON -- A Republican lobbyist, [Jack Burkman], hawking a bill that would bar gays from playing in the National Football League has a younger brother who is gay [Jim Burkman].

“I think the idea that he is pushing legislation that is just hurtful and ridiculous is just plain stupid,” said Jim Burkman. “He is not a legislator and he can’t really push legislation. I don’t think there are any cosponsors for a bill. It is just an attention grab and a media grab to pander to those folks who pay him to lobby on their behalf.

Well, now it's time for the NFL to speak up -- and they should because they have a lot to lose -- millions -- if their tax exempt status should be removed. And if they don't come out as accepting of gays, you can count on their exempt status going the way of the "leather helmet" or "Statue of Liberty" play.


Dallas Sportcaster On Michael Sam's 'Coming Out' as Gay

Photo: CNN

Photo: CNN

I don't follow college or professional sports but some stories need to be told beyond the sports world. Dale Hansen's comment in the video below needs to be heard. He had the audacity to shine the light on the hypocrisy of the NFL about its draft picks. Hint: you can commit heinous crimes but don't dare be open about your sexuality.

Congratulations, Michael Sam, on finding the courage to tell the world who you are and thanks, Dale Hansen, for telling us the truth about how he will be seen when it comes to draft picks.

The video is from Channel 8, WFAA, ABC affiliate in Dallas, TX.


Chris Christie Makes Surprise Appearance -- At A Roast Without The Beef



Gotta love the big guy in New Jersey. He's not hiding in the face of all the troubles he's brought down on the state. His political ambitions are in shambles. As a matter of fact, there are so many state and federal prosecutors in New Jersey now investigating him that it's become a cottage industry -- the number two largest employer in New Jersey. How long until Christie proclaims this was his plan all along to boost employment in the Garden State?

Evidently he was invited to a roast. Boy what a surprise he got when he showed up and they weren't serving a roast but rather holding a comedy roast for football great, Boomer Esiason. Christie took the opportunity, ham that he is, to try to make light of the crises that garnish his plate at the Trenton Governor's mansion. Talk about embarrassing.

So, for some awkward moments and some self-deprecating humor, I proudly present Governor Chris Christie in what may turn out to be a long line of striped suits -- or maybe the the new ones might be orange jumpsuits and have the words "New Jersey State Correctional Institution" on the back. So with no further ado, I give you possible future inmate NJ386574:


Sidelining our football Heroe$ for life -- with Brain Injury, w/o Benefits


Written by guest contributor, "hardybear" of the wonderful Free Range Talk site.

Sean Morey, ex-NFL and dedicated to the Brain Injury Field. Photo, NPR.

Sean Morey, ex-NFL and dedicated to the Brain Injury Field. Photo, NPR.

It's GAME DAY! Lots going on in Jersey, but this evening it's all about brawling and strong-arm attacks in the stadium rather than the State House. 

Anyone else secretly hope they pull dear ole' Keith Olbermann back in to Fox to call the Super Bowl, and he tweaks and goes into a full-on Christie Tirade? Please, sports gods. That dedicatedly bombastic man was about the best Politics Announcer liberals could have hoped for in the heyday!

[KO is apparently very disgruntled about The Media getting special transport into Jersey though - a psychiatrist couch might be needed to unpack that one.]


While we are cheering the best tackles, glorifying in finger foods and being FANS - it's good to be an American. There is an issue that needs to be brought up right next to the foam fingers and stadium profits however - the epidemic of Brain Injury.
BrainInjuryw164h164These guys pretty much get hit in the head for a living!
And how many started in Pee Wee?

The NFL players have strong feelings, as you might imagine. NPR shared glimpses into the rough and tumble journey of Vince Lombardi trophy winner Sean Morey.

Morey is among dozens of retired NFL players who have agreed to donate their brains for medical research when they die. He hopes his brain might provide some answers.

Rocking graphic from BreakingMuscle dot com.

Rocking graphic from BreakingMuscle dot com.

The answers to the questions he wants sooner that that include why his daughters will have lifelong pictures burned in their minds of an enraged, often unrecognizable father ... who was not the man their mother married.

Cara Morey has watched her husband turn into someone she doesn't recognize. "He gets a look in his eyes that you're pretty sure you've never met this person before. ... It's very scary. It's a type of rage that I had never seen, and I don't think anyone should ever see, and I don't think my girls should ever have seen it."

Defensive lineman Mike Lodish, formerly a Bronc(!), has taken the field in more Super Bowls than any other player since we started charting -- seems like he might know from the career where getting hit in the head is in your job description. Deadspin shared his rawly honest ten cents.

People that I've talked to about me being on the list to sue the NFL say things to me like, "You knew what you were getting into." Let me explain something to you: The hell we did. The hell we did. I knew orthopedically that I would have issues. I didn't care. But no one ever told me if I get a concussion and I go back in and show my boys that I'm a tough son of a bitch that I'm going to mess myself up even more. No one ever told me that. No one ever told me that that could possibly lead to CTE that could possibly lead to suicide. No one ever said, "If you have multiple concussions, Mike, you could risk killing yourself at a much earlier age, because your mind is quirked."

This is no short term problem,  pardon the pun, yet the corporatist NFL has NO intention with being saddled with permanent doctors tabs for their used-up players ... an attitude so unappreciated by pigskin legend Vernon Davis that he publicly shamed the Suits during Gridiron High Holy Week.

See if you're as impressed as I was. Footage from Yahoo dot com.


Super Bowl Or Super Scam?



Now I know I'm must be wrong -- I'm agreeing with Senator Tom Coburn (R - Oklahoma) on an issue. While I lay down, take a Xanax and wait patiently for the Super Bowl to start, here's what's bothering me. How can I agree with the Oklahoma Republican Senator on anything? He's an insane madman who hasn't had a nodding acquaintance with reality in twenty years. So is my current state of anxiety just a result of the blind squirrel finally finding a nut?

POLICYMIC reports this:

On Sunday, February 2, [today] over 80,000 people will gather in the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium and over 100 million people will gather around their televisions at home in order to watch the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos face off in Super Bowl XLVIII, the biggest annual charity event in the United States.

How, you might ask, can a $70 million event — one that entices advertisers to drop $4 million for a 30 second spot — be a charity event? Why, because the National Football League, an organization that pulls in millions in annual revenue, is a tax-exempt nonprofit.

Well shut my mouth. The NFL is a nonprofit?

That’s right: tax-exempt. That halftime show featuring Bruno Mars? That Times Square toboggan, and the swooping skycams, and the emergency snow clearing? Your billions of lost tax dollars at work.

Who do we have to blame for this? The IRS? Darrell Issa, if you're listening, this is the real IRS scandal.

You may be wondering how and when did this happen?

Well, the year was 1966, 46 years after the NFL was founded. That’s when, after some clever lobbying in Congress, language specifically designating professional football as qualifying for tax exempt status was sneaked into a wholly unrelated bill and passed through both houses of Congress. Now this status change wasn't for all professional sports, for instance baseball, basketball weren't beneficiaries. Just the NFL.

That brings us to today. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is currently attempting to revoke the NFL’s status. He's questioning (and so should we all) the football league's designation as a tax exempt entity. Major League Baseball and The National Basketball Association are not tax exempt. So what's the story here, fellas?

As a 501(c)6, (the tax code designation for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce), the NFL isn't supposed to engage in business “ordinarily carried on for profit.” Apparently, licensing high priced team logo'd apparel, granting broadcast rights, charging for admission and running an entire television network with advertising don’t count as profitable endeavors. If that's the case, maybe the problems lie in the salary they're paying their commissioner, Roger Goodell -- nearly $30 million a year.

Just for some sense of compensation for other non-profit organizations, places like the Red Cross, colleges, hospitals, museums, even the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

...nonprofit executive compensation, the median salary for executive directors at charitable organizations was a mere $126,000 in 2011.

Does that sound right, or even fair, to you? Not to me.

Well, my Xanax is kicking in right about now and I'm chilling. But I think it's about time we consider a change to the tax laws. This may not go very far as an organization the size of the NFL, with the deepest pockets imaginable, will fight this tooth and nail. But maybe Senator Coburn's swan song, (he's retiring soon) will be he was the man who brought the NFL back down to the level playing field. I sure hope so. Now it's on to the Super Bowl and hopefully a good game.


And In Another Corner Of The States, A Different Kind of Cop



Earlier today I had a bit of fun in a post about a police officer's carelessness -- he shot himself -- for the second time. You can't blame a snarky guy like me for writing about it, especially when he took no responsibility for his actions, blaming his fleece jacket for the self-inflicted shooting.

Now I've been made aware of this viral Facebook story which seems to be a perfect counter-balance to the earlier post.

A young boy, 10 year old Jermaine Ford in Rosenberg Texas, had no one to toss a football to or play with. He was a prime candidate to have an unhappy ending to his afternoon -- gangs, predators or maybe even the cops.

That forecast turned out to be prescient.

Yet in this case, the cop was Officer Ariel Soltura. His actions are something young Jermaine will never forget, nor should any of us. Officer Soltura, spotting the lone child, pulled his patrol car over. No surprise there. He got out and approached the boy. Still no surprise. But what happened next is humanity demonstrated on the highest level. He showed the boy compassion and care. Watch him on his dash cam to see what he did next and why he's becoming known as a hero for his actions.

Want to have faith in the police? Watch this video.

Drop Officer Soltura a like or a note if you approve on Facebook right HERE.


Video Mid Day Distraction- Deaf Football Player Beat the Odds