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10/31/2013 2:06:00 PM
Football could learn from pope
Catholic News Service
The NFL could learn a thing or two about greed from Pope Francis.
Catholic News Service
The NFL could learn a thing or two about greed from Pope Francis.

American football is the king of all sports in the United States. However, it is also a sport that could use some insight from the Holy Father on inequality and greed.

Judith Grant Long, a Harvard University professor of urban planning, has calculated that league-wide, 70 percent of the capital cost of NFL stadiums has been provided by taxpayers, not well-to-do tycoons.

Many cities, counties, and states also pay the stadiums’ ongoing costs, by freely providing power, sewer services, other infrastructure, and stadium improvements.
When all costs are added, Long’s research finds, the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tennessee Titans turn a profit on stadium subsidies alone—receiving more money from the public than they need.
Many NFL teams have also cut sweetheart deals to avoid taxes.

The new field where the Dallas Cowboys play has been appraised at nearly $1 billion. At the basic property-tax rate of Arlington, Texas, Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones would owe at least $6 million a year. Instead he receives no property-tax bill.

There are a few bright spots, like when NFL executives gave $10 million to Catholic High in Little Rock, Ark.; but these are small potatoes. Detroit’s  pro-athletes keep their million dollar contracts, but fans increasingly cannot afford ticket prices.
The sports entertainment industry is a big-money behemoth. The industry could learn from Pope Francis.

“Money is needed to bring about many good things,” says the pope. “But when your heart is attached (to money), it destroys you.”

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