Trump says kill NFL’s “massive tax breaks” so long as players are protesting

Somewhere, somebody is waking up from a coma and is so desperately confused by this:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for changes to U.S. tax law affecting the National Football League, fueling a feud with the league and its players over protests that he says disrespect the nation.

Here’s the tweet in question, for the record:

So that probably means the tax breaks that come along with tax-exempt stadium bonds, which several other Republicans have proposed rescinding for the NFL if their players keep taking a knee during the national anthem. (A state representative in Missouri has also called for “not investing any more money for stadium funding if the players and billionaire owners are going to disrespect our country and disrespect our state,” which I guess means not paying to renovate the Kansas City Chiefs‘ stadium again?) As is typical with Trump, there are no specifics about what he means, though I suppose I could try tweeting at him to ask if he knows a way to change tax law so that the NFL can’t get tax-exempt bonds but more patriotic sports like, er, hockey can.

Anyway, let’s all enjoy the spectacle of Trump and the GOP rushing to embrace a policy that President Obama proposed two years ago, only to be blocked by a Republican-controlled Congress, because they’re mad at players for not standing on the field during the anthem, defying a tradition that dates all the way back to 2009. I remain extremely skeptical that this will lead to any actual legislation, but the universe is so insane right now, anything is possible.

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47 comments on “Trump says kill NFL’s “massive tax breaks” so long as players are protesting

  1. Not the universe, Neil. Just our little part of it. While they do play the anthems of both competing countries in international events like the World Cup, playing national anthems before domestic league matches like England’s Premier League is unheard of.

    1. Are you implying that the United States alone has slipped into some sort of bizarro alternate reality? Because that would actually explain a lot.

      1. Please check the value of Pi where you are, then rotate your phone 90 degrees and call me back.

    2. I think most people are hoping the Dallas writing team responsible for the “Pam’s Dream” season will be heard from very soon.

  2. Neil, don’t be a d-bag. Rather than your douchey slight against the President, embrace President Trump.

    Obama was a failure. We could spend a lifetime pointing out Obama’s pro-illegal alien and pro-massive immigration policy as part of what fuels the need for stadium subsidies so low paying jobs can be had by the ever growing ranks of working-age population owing to immigration.

    Likely, Neil, you don’t even know how wages arise and what is the only cause of higher wages. But here you are running your fingers over Obama rather than cheering the current president, you know, the only one who can affect change for the foreseeable future.

    1. Thanks, Smack MacD, for providing a perfect example of what would normally qualify as a personal attack, and be deleted instantly, if you’d directed it at a commenter rather than at me. Let’s go down the list:

      1) “d-bag” and “douchey”: Self-explanatory, though the edge of sexism to the insults is an added touch.

      2) “you don’t even know how wages arise”: Also makes this personal, since it’s about what I know, not about what I said in my post. “This doesn’t even address how wages arise” would be fine, since it’d be attacking the statement, not the person making the statement.

      3) “here you are running your fingers over Obama”: This is a borderline case, since technically you’re just talking about this post, not casting assertions about my motivations in making it. Though there’s some weird proto-homophobic connotation to the specific attack that I could probably comment on better if I’d ever heard the phrase “running your fingers over.”

      Anyway, this is really helpful, thanks! Everybody else, please read and know what not to do!

      1. I sure hope Neil doesn’t prevent Smack from posting again, because I really want to understand the logic of the following argument:

        “Obama’s…pro-massive immigration policy as part of what fuels the need for stadium subsidies so low paying jobs can be had by the ever growing ranks of working-age population owing to immigration.”

        Hard to know where to start to try to break it down. My 8th grade English teacher, Sister Loyola, God rest her soul, would have keeled over in the classroom diagramming this sentence.

        Let’s start with “pro-massive immigration policy as part of what fuels the need for stadium subsidies…”

        Is this because immigrants need the extra money to build the stadiums of the teams they own?

        Wait, no. Isn’t it very wealthy, mostly non-immigrant team owners who are saying they need stadium subsidies so they can extract more profit from their enterprise by controlling all revenue streams and ask to be free of property taxes while all the risk is on taxpayers to make up the subsidies by usually non-existent incremental tax revenue? Yes, that’s right.

        And isn’t it local, state, etc. governments (some number of whom are led by Republicans who say they abhor government handouts, see: Texas) that think they NEED to give subsides to acquire or keep a pro sports team? yes, seen this multiple times.

        And hasn’t this been going on for decades, well before Obama’s birth certificate was faked?

        I am pretty sure immigration has nothing to do with it.

        Unless it’s because our population is getting more diverse because of immigration and thus soccer, a non-native US sport, is becoming more popular here within our borders, which drives the growth of soccer leagues whose rich, mostly non-immigrant owners are excitedly following in the footsteps of their brethren in the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB and have declared the need for subsidies to extract more profit and…yada yada yada.

        Now moving on to:
        “….stadium subsidies so low paying jobs can be had by the ever growing ranks of working-age population.”

        After going over this several times in my head and chopping the sentence up in multiple ways, I can only assume what Smack is asserting is that subsidies lead to stadium building which of course, after construction, creates jobs that are taken by people who are eligible to work. So far so good. And, as we have argued here before, those jobs, typically quoted as being in the thousands by pro-stadia camps, are low paying jobs (ushers, hot dog slingers, etc.).

        So I guess we partially agree on something. I think.
        I see lots of smiling 22-65 year olds of all nationalities and ethnicities in bright blue blazers and white and yellow striped ties at the SAP center here in San Jose during Sharks games and Neil Diamond concerts.

        But, once you add in “owing to immigration,” the logic train goes off the rails. What are we owing to immigration? It is the stadium subsidies, the low paying jobs or the ever-growing ranks of the working-age population?

        If we assume immigration drives the ever growing ranks of the working age population (since that was the thing previous to the words “owing to immigration”), that’s actually not a bad thing. First, we can can’t produce enough people in this country to support the economic growth we might want or our current Presidents espouses (I believe it is 5%, which hasn’t been hit since 1978)—the math just doesn’t work. We need talent from beyond our borders. Secondly, there are low-paying jobs that non-immigrants seem to not want to do (see: agriculture). If non-immigrants did want to do them, we wouldn’t need immigration, or more directly, there would be no available jobs, so there would be no incentive to migrate here.

        If I missed an obvious string or connection, someone please help me out of this sentence diagramming and logic hell.

        PS: Isn’t it: “…how wages RISE” not “ARISE”? Saying “how wages arise” sounds as if wages are zombies crawling out of graves.

        PSS: I would also like to know what is “the only cause of higher wages.” Sounds like magic we didn’t cover in the Econ classes I took. I would like to ask my boss about it in my next review.

  3. Wow. So I didn’t vote for either major party because I didn’t feel either was worth a vote. And Trump didn’t win my state anyway. But goddamn has he been a disaster as President. I told myself that if he won it would give the US a good wake-up call about how toxic and broken its politics are. But the only thing it seems to have awakened is further idiocy and even more broken politics. No coalition of non-crazy people against him. No fracturing in either party.

    We really are going to let these two parties run this country into the ground aren’t we? Well I guess vive la révolution!

    1. It seems quite a bit like the story of the alcoholic who is sure that alcohol is causing the problem but isn’t sure whether the answer is more alcohol or less.

  4. This seems an obvious way to set tax policy. If you voice displeasure with the government’s way of thinking, no tax breaks for you. And, I presume, tax breaks for friends of those in power. I can’t see anyone opposing that. And, if they do, raise their taxes.

    1. That does kind of seem to be the governing doctrine, no? “If you’re mean to me, you’re fired! And if I can’t fire you, I’ll tax you! Or tweet at you! Definitely one of those!”

      I can see why some people find it refreshing to have Trump as president — I don’t think we’ve ever had a president with his id anywhere this close to the surface since Nixon, and even he saved all his best lines for the tapes.

  5. I’m kind of stuck here, because really, the NFL shouldn’t be considered non-profit. So I am for making them a normal corporation, just not for the reasons Trump says. Show me where it mentions the national anthem in the Constitution, then I’ll change my mind.

    1. The NFL has not been a nonprofit since 2015:

      1. yah, I was gonna say, they ducked out of that so that they wouldn’t have to publish goodell’s salary, or make the rest of their operations transparent.

  6. Let’s just cut through all of it shall we?

    For me and many of my friends anthemgate is not the issue nor is the nfl as a non profit.

    We are just tired of watching four hour games that could cure the worst case of insomnia.

    The no fun league didn’t earn that moniker because billy white shoes Johnson would be thrown out of this league, it earned because the game last night was 3-2 in the third quarter.

    Hell, I’ve watched 120 minutes of scoreless World Cup qualifying with more excitement.

    The shield is just boring as hell. Don’t get me wrong I realize many are out because of the kneeling, but I don’t care either way. For me and my friends despite all the garbage it also has, we find college football just about more exciting, although it is also pushing 4-hour games.

    Goodbye nfl it was great knowing you but you’ve changed a lot since I was in high school 30 years ago enjoying the banter of Monday night and the rivalries of staubach bradshaw and earl Campbell.

    It was fun but no more.

    1. Agree , the game has changed. I’ve watched classic games from 70,80, & 90’s and it seems like another sport. If it wasn’t for all the rule changes to increase scoring games would finish 7-3. I don’t believe there’s a single QB with the ability to start on a team from the 70’s or 80’s.

  7. I’d be very surprised if the 14th Amendment doesn’t protect civic stadium bonds, unless the ban covers all private developments (which’ll never happen).

  8. …and again your whining because Trump agrees with you and is bringing your issue to the forefront…. Seriously!!! What is going on here. Are you worried if corporate welfare to sports teams ends you might lose your phony-baloney job?

      1. Considering the number of people you have replying to this thread and following you have on Facebook I would have to “yes” you should be collecting revenue in some way here. If you are not getting any money at all directly or indirectly via brand value that increases speaking fees or book sales from this endeavor you need to have a serious discussion with a marketing firm about monetizing your efforts. Failing that maybe you could sell out and start a “consulting” that writes scholarly reports saying what a great value publicly funded MLS stadiums are.

        1. I get some money from this site — last I calculated it comes to about minimum wage for the time I spend on it. While I enjoy writing these posts, I would be more than happy to retire from lack of anything to report on. I am not hopeful about this.

    1. There is no evidence this President is against tax breaks for billionaires. When he signs a bill asking congress to actually do what he just tweeted (if such legislation is even possible, much less able to be passed), I’ll follow same with interest.

      Until then, he’s just using twitter to troll you, the NFL players involved in the protests, and as many other people as he can possibly get to pay attention to him/not pay attention to the many other issues he seems to be failing to deal with effectively.

      Words are not actions. Incoherent garbage spewed on twitter at 4am? doubly so.

      BTW, as the commander in chief and head of the executive branch, why would he need to tweet an imperative like “change tax law!”.

      Who exactly does he think is supposed to send that kind of request to the hill?

  9. I think it is important when reading this type of elementary school level discourse to remember that this Commander in Chief – a self admitted sexual predator – is promoting a tax reform plan that would personally have saved him more than $25m a year while claiming it is somehow “bad” for him.

    And that when this president had the opportunity to serve his country with honour he sought and received a deferment for alleged ‘bone spurs’. As a proud draft evader, he subsequently chose to insult Senator McCain’s service (for being captured and spending years as a PoW)… in the very same action that Trump studiously avoided serving in.

    He has also chastised Harvey Weinstein (and others) for sexual misbehaviour. Apparently this president is unaware of the large number of women who have sued him for similar offenses, despite the fact that he is using the protection of his current office in a shameless attempt to shield him from these actions.

    Never mind his tax returns, I’d like to see the police report his first wife filed accusing him of a violent sexual assault in the 1980s.

    Meanwhile, he barks at the NFL via twitter and the electorate forgets everything else…

  10. I don’t know how I feel about the weird turn of events that has caused Field of Schemes to suddenly be subsumed by the largely pointless screaming at one another that we call national politics. Somehow I miss the old days where we could discuss financing plans, traffic patterns or TIF…you know and point and laugh at Cincinnati.

    Then again this morning I’m choking on the thick smoke of Sonoma and Napa burning and seeing the President ignore that and instead spend the morning on a twitter feud with some football players. Those who said we were a new Rome might have been onto something.

    1. I think the difference with ‘this’ story is that the President has chosen to involve himself in this site’s main theme by suggesting that ‘if NFL owners don’t stop their employees from exercising their first amendment rights, we might have to pull their stadium tax breaks/funding/welfare’

      It is this President who has waded into FoS territory, and not the other way around.

      1. “… NFL owners don’t stop their employees from exercising their first amendment rights…”

        Sigh. In case you haven’t noticed (and judging by your statement, you haven’t) the First Amendment rights really do not apply to your argument.

        The First Amendment specifically deals with limiting the GOVERNMENTS ability to control/limit speech, religious observance, assembly, press, etc. It does NOT specifically prevent PRIVATE entities, such as corporations, football teams, etc from imposing rules the spell out what an employee may or may not say.

        Obviously there are grey areas in the law,( or more accurately the legal interpretation of it)but infringing on the players first amendment rights ISN’T happening here.

      2. You may not believe they apply in this instance. That is not the same as this matter being decided in a court of law.

        Employers have the right to set duties and require adherence to certain behaviours and codes of conduct. There are limits to what any employer’s policies can extend to, however.

        In an industry that includes a collective bargaining agreement for ‘in scope’ employees, those policies and requirements tend to be set in out writing. The league reps have been referring to this as a “policy” recently, but ‘anthem observation’ appears to have been nothing more than a convention voluntarily adopted since 2009 (and not uniformly imposed in any sense).

        Employers are not gods and cannot ‘require’ that workers surrender basic rights. They may (or may not) be able to require that the players be on the field prior to the anthem, presentation of colours etc. I am very much looking forward to this being argued in the appropriate setting (though the NFL appears keen on avoiding that for reasons I think are obvious).

        In simple terms, employers are not free to order workers covered under a CBA to “observe the anthem” if that requirement is not part of the CBA.

        1. You missed my point almost entirely.

          Whether or not employees are covered by a CBA(or not) isn’t the point. The issue, as I clearly explained, is that the First Amendment is a restriction on GOVERNMENT, not on employers/private citizens.

          No more, no less.

  11. No surprise Goodell is out there licketysplit with a new rule that NFL players “must” stand during the anthem. What a load of….

    I think they only bigger hypocrite (or D-bag or whatever you guys, women included, want to call him) is Jerry Jones for kneeling during the US national anthem and looking into the camera as a publicity stunt, then proclaiming that all Dallas Cowboy players must now stand.

    1. It’s not a rule. So far, it’s only a request by Goodell, although there may be discussions a foot.

      I don’t believe (but do not know for certain) that Goodell or the owners can make a rule about it (or amend the “should stand” language to “must stand”) without amending the CBA. That requires agreement with the NFLPA because it involves player behavior.

      1. Goodell said it would “include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues.” Maybe he’s going to introduce an anthem-standing app?

    2. Agree. Jerry Jones , looking out for his players almost as much as a coach teaching tackle football to children.

  12. ooo look!

    Tweeting crap at rich guys who live for tax breaks works!

    Now cue the first amendment actions….

  13. How the hell can the NFL be allowed to maintain their 501(c)3 status? Those guys are rich enough to print their own currency.

    Whatever happens, happens. I’ve been taking this year off from watching the NFL. The protests don’t bother me that greatly because blacks do have legitimate issues regarding police, but I’m beyond done with the overlong games, uberhype surrounding the product and the cynicism the NFL has come to represent.

    I’ll be going to a prep game on Friday featuring two small schools whose players will be representing their friends, families and neighbors on the field because they love the competition. All for $5 and free parking. The NFL does not possess sole ownership of the game of football.

    1. THE NFL IS NOT 501(C)3. Formerly the league was a nonprofit shell corporation, with all actual money passed through to the teams. But even that was dropped two years ago.

      1. Ahhh, didn’t know that. Thanks for the clarification. I’ve read a few times in recent weeks/months that the NFL was still non-profit. Scratch my first paragraph, but this entire site has only to solidify the last one. I grew up intensely interested in all things sports, even local fastpitch teams, but primarily the big-time teams. I’ve gradually but steadily lost interest in major league sports to the point where I don’t even watch them on TV anymore. It’s like supporting millionaires who’ve been given EBT cards.

  14. Always one to hold a grudge, Trump is probably still mad for not letting him into their club back in the 80’s. Probably feels they should thank him for singlehandly killing the USFL.

    1. On that note, you’ll enjoy this letter from the Tampa Bay Bandits owner to Trump:

  15. So much drama and division , can’t we just get back to discussing how MLS is a Ponzi scheme.

  16. I’m personally looking forward to this all being one of several major issues that cause a lockout in a few years. America could do without the NFL for a while.

  17. If Twitter was a patriotic company, it would have deleted Donnie Bone Spurs’ account many months ago.

  18. It’s a shame President Obama didn’t propose rescinding these tax breaks back in 2009 when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

    1. That and a lot of other things. Though I’m not sure he would have had that much easier a time getting it through a Democratic Congress, honestly.

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