The 49ers are playing the Panthers RIGHT NOW, and our Seattle Seahawks will face the victor of this game next weekend. The rabid sportsball fans who I consulted yesterday did not have any concrete opinions about which team they would prefer our Birds to face, so that's neither here nor there. These same rabid sportsball fans laughed long and hard at me when I asked whether they knew that the NFL is a nonprofit... then they paused in their chili-eating and looked it up on their iPhones and were stunned. Everyone agreed that it's completely bananas.
All of that revenue received by the league office—more than a half billion dollars since 2010—is untouchable to the Internal Revenue Service.
Score? No, says the NFL’s tax attorney, Jeremy Spector. He says the league office, according to U.S. tax code, is a nonprofit trade association, promoting football and serving as an agent and organizer for the 32 clubs. And it’s been that way since the 1940s.
Out of bounds? Yes, says U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who filed a bill in September to revoke the tax exemption, asserting that working folks are subsidizing a special break for a sports league. He’s got 275,000 supporters in spirit: Americans who have signed a Change.org petition that asks Congress to strip the nonprofit status.
“This doesn’t pass the basic fairness test,” said the petition’s author, Lynda Woolard. Somewhat ironically, she adores her hometown New Orleans Saints [sad trombone] and shouts the praises of what that team has done to help rebuild and revive the region after Hurricane Katrina. But she's had it with the league office....
Anyhow, play ball!