In the old days, NFL owners were rich men who accepted the risk of losing money as the cost of doing business. Thanks to the popularity of the game, the NFL and its owners—with the collusion of politicians—have created what amounts to a risk-free business environment. According to Long’s data, a dozen teams received more public money than they needed to build their facilities. Rather than going into debt, they turned a profit.
The perfect example: Seven of every ten dollars spent to build CenturyLink Field in Seattle came from the taxpayers of Washington State, $390 million total. The owner, Paul Allen, pays the state $1 million per year in “rent” and collects most of the $200 million generated. If you are wondering how to become, like Allen, one of the richest humans on earth, negotiating such a lease would be a good start.
In New Orleans, taxpayers have bankrolled roughly a billion dollars to build then renovate the Superdome, which we are now supposed to call the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Guess who gets nearly all the revenues generated by Saints games played in this building? If you guessed all those hard-working stiffs who paid a billion dollars, you would be wrong. If you guessed billionaire owner Tom Benson, you would be right. He also receives $6 million per annum from the state as an “inducement payment” to keep him from moving the team.
That’s the same amount Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would pay each year in property taxes to Arlington, Texas, where his fancy new stadium is located. Except that Jones doesn’t pay property taxes because, like many of his fellow plutocrats, he’s cut a sweetheart deal with the local authorities.
"Public funding of stadiums and arenas makes me so goddamn angry." Me, too, a thousand times me too.
I recently stopped an “Eisenhower Republican” (you know that the lowest tax rate possible is the goal) dead in the conversation by saying “You know, I disagree with you about the purpose, necessity and morality of taxes. Fundamentally. And you will never change my mind and I don’t care to talk about it.” (Yes, I used italics in my voice) I have no issue with “high” tax rates; I have no anger over paying taxes. I am, in fact, happy to contribute to the public coffers and thus the public good.
But I am often incensed by how my taxes are spent. That we fund footballstadiums whose sole purpose is to make money for their very rich owners and a few of their very rich players instead of schools or food banks makes me want to riot.
Thus the skill of women as fighter pilots is well established. And before you jump to the standby excuse that you were “just making a joke” or “having a laugh,” let the men amongst our number preemptively respond: You are not funny. You are not clever. And you are not excused. Perhaps the phrase “boys will be boys”—inevitably uttered wherever misogyny is present—is relevant. Men would never insult and demean a fellow servicemember; boys think saying the word ‘boobs’ is funny.
The less obvious implication of your remarks, however, is that by offending an ally and cheapening her contribution, you are actively hurting the mission. We need to send a clear message that anyone, male or female, who will stand up to ISIS and get the job done is worthy of our respect and gratitude.
We issue an apology on your behalf to Major Al Mansouri knowing that anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere. Major, we’re sincerely sorry for the rudeness; clearly, these boys don’t take your service seriously, but we and the rest of the American public do.