NFL’s Status As a Non-Profit Organization Is Beyond Non-Sensical

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Non Profit Organization (n)- A corporation or an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive.

The NFL does not have shareholders.

I won’t insult your intelligence to suggest that they don’t have a profit motive– in fact the league profited to a tune of $9 billion in 2013.

They have a commissioner that makes around $49 million per year.

If you were to give the most basic details above to a layperson who didn’t give a rat’s behind about football and asked them to evaluate whether the NFL was a non-profit, what would they say?

Yep, that’s what I thought.


In terms of legalities, there’s all kinds of maneuvering the NFL can cycle through to ensure they can continue to enjoy the tax shelters non-profits provide on the financial end, while crafting every organizational effort on the business side to reap as great a profit as possible without drawing too much attention from the IRS. Drawing said attention, however, would be a herculean task given the dire straits the U.S. economy finds itself in.

In short, the IRS has much bigger fish to fry, but that’s a discussion for another day.

When I think of non-profits, I think of organizations whose goal includes a greater social purpose, one worked toward by the collective efforts of its employees, and led down the proper path by a Board of Directors whose years of experience make it reasonable for them to be the ones steering the ship.

The goal is to cure disease.

The goal is to end hunger.

The goal is to end homelessness.

The goal is to help the mentally disabled.

The goal is to help the less fortunate in a much more general, but more meaningful sense.

While the NFL has made admirable steps towards community outreach, and several of their programs along the lines of what I mention above, are laudable, the primary drive of the organization is to ensure a profit which equates to the quality of the football product on the field, the merchandising and television rights surrounding it, and all else that comes along with the territory.

The NFL is about football.

Football will not cure disease.

Football will not end hunger.

Football will not clear the mind of the mentally disabled.

Football will not put food on the plates of the destitute.

Football will give a few men a year the opportunity to make an exorbitant amount of money to risk their bodies playing a sport that has been proven time and again to shorten one’s lifespan, cause life-long injury and decades of pain once the cleats are hung up for the final time.

I’ll never give the NFL a hall pass for being able to bend the IRS rules to maintain a tax shelter which allows them to reap ridiculous profits under the banner of a construct meant to serve the greater good.

The NFL is a corporation with lawyers good enough to pervert the process.

Let’s not get that twisted.


Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and the Hiring Manager for Rant Sports.

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