The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

NFL Owners add 2 more D.C. lobbyists in 2012

Lamar Smith receives money from the NFL
Rep. Lamar Smith received $25,000 from NFL lobbyists

01.30.13

The NFL continues to reinforce their standing as a giant, profitable organization with $9 billion per year in revenue to protect and grow. Or is employee safety the priority . . . we digress. A recent report in CREW, a Washington D.C. watchdog group details the NFL’s recent forward progress deeper and deeper into Washington D.C.’s red zone.  The NFL added 2 additional lobbyists to their corporate team in 2012 and continued to donate money to specific political candidates. Unfortunately, the timing of the (completely legal) political donations to certain members of congress is dismaying. For instance Fred Upton, a member of the House of Representatives received a $5,000 check from the NFL owners’ PAC, Gridiron-PAC, just 3 weeks before sending an official letter to the NFL and NFLPA critical of the NFLPA’s position on HGH testing. Two of the other three contributors to the letter, Representatives Mary Bono Mack and G.K. Butterfield,  also received timely checks from the owners’ PAC. No mention on why the fourth politician to sign the letter, Rep. Henry Waxman participated in the effort to persuade the NFLPA.

In regard to the owners’ interests in the outcome of the head injury controversy in the NFL, the PAC also made relevant donations. Representative Lamar Smith of Texas received $25,000 over 2 election cycles, including $5,000 only three weeks before the 2009 Congressional House Judiciary Committee hearings with the NFL regarding head injuries. Smith’s subsequent contribution to the hearings was his statement, “we cannot legislate the elimination of injuries from the games without eliminating the games themselves.” Smith later became chairman of the committee and since, the committee has failed to take any action or hold any further hearings after that well-publicized congressional show in 2009.  Also around the same time, the NFL  got a bonus preemptive show of support from Smith in regard to the owners’ CBA negotiations with the players.  “Congress should not attempt to influence the upcoming collective bargaining process the league and the players union are about to engage in. We should also avoid the temptation to legislate in this area.”

$5,000 . . . about the same price as a clean, used Oldsmobile – 1 owner, non-smoker.

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