Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Gingrich Takes Offense




It would take a chapter in a book to catalog all the cockeyed things Newt Gingrich said Sunday on "Fox & Friends", and the entire book to ridicule them sufficiently. Among the points he tried to make was

But I suspect there are millions of Americans who look at these very arrogant young millionaires- let's be clear, that's what they are, the'tre agorgant young millionaires who think that they should now basically inflict their politics in what has historically been a non-political moment.





How dare they! Or rather "how dare they?' Individuals are employed by National Football League teams for the same reason the teller at your local bank or megabank is employed- they create value for their employer.

There are two differences. While some people could perform the job of a bank teller, there are fewer than 2,000 people in the USA who could perform credibly in the NFL.  We know that because every year, there are millions of boys (and some girls) who dream of playing professional football, go on to play at some level, and eventually succumb to the realization that they are unable to compete professionally. The spirit may still be willing but the body, and the talent fall short.  NFL players are the cream of the crop, most gifted at birth with large bodies, but who hone their skills by working ceaselessly for many years.

We know that: otherwise you the reader and I would appear in a team's camp with the opportunity to land a job. We may be unable to be a bank teller, but we most assuredly are unable to tackle Kareem Hunt, block DeMarcus Lawrence, or defend a pass thrown by Aaron Rodgers. The elite group of 1700 performers are paid in part huge sums in part because of their unique skills.

They are paid large sums also because their employers can afford it.  The sports business reporter at The Wall Street Journal explains

The average NFL franchise is worth $2.5 billion, up 8% by FORBES’ count over last year. The Dallas Cowboys were the only NFL team worth $2 billion five years ago. Now all but five of the NFL’s 32 teams are worth at least $2 billion (the Buffalo Bills bring up the rear at $1.6 billion).

NFL owners are minting money thanks to hefty TV contracts and a favorable labor deal with the players. Operating profits (earnings, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) were a record $101 million per team last season, with every team north of $40 million. The $3.2 billion in league-wide income is $500 million more than the combined earnings of teams in the NBA, NHL and MLB.

While Newt Gingrich implies that aside from the current protests, sports have been apolitical. The 16 stadia which hosted the opeining weekend of the 2015 season were built with nearly $3 billion of taxpayer funds granted through the political process.

Additionally, the protest movement begun by Kaepernick lay nearly dormant when on Saturday the President remarked

Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s FIRED!’ You know, some owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag; he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country.

Earth to Gingrich: the President of the United States of America is a political figure.

However, the National Football League was embroiled in politics before the petulant one was elected President. We learned late last year

The Department of Defense doled out as much as $6.8 million in taxpayer money to professional sports teams to honor the military at games and events over the past four years, an amount it has “downplayed” amid scrutiny, a report unveiled by two Senate Republicans on Wednesday found....

The 145-page report released Wednesday dives deeper, revealing that 72 of the 122 professional sports contracts analyzed contained items deemed “paid patriotism” — the payment of taxpayer or Defense funds to teams in exchange for tributes like NFL’s “Salute to Service.” Honors paid for by the DOD were found not only in the NFL, but also the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS. They included on-field color guard ceremonies, performances of the national anthem, and ceremonial first pitches and puck drops. 

It takes money to make money, and the Pentagon's investment appears to have paid off.

There is little doubt, as the former House Speaker stated, that millions of Americans are angry at whom they view as "very arrogant young millionaires." They now have the opportunity to boycott the NFL, as President Trump has recommended.  But they won't do it, any more than Trump or Newt Gingrich will cease and desist in their effort to sow disunity and division.





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