In a letter released today, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has informed congress that the league will be giving up its non-profit status, which it has held since 1942.
That’s not to say that the league isn’t taxed – the 32 teams certainly are, but the league office, whose job it is to organize and promote the football clubs, hasn’t been.
"As you know, the effects of the tax-exempt status of the league office have been mischaracterized repeatedly in recent years," Goodell wrote on Tuesday. "The fact is that the business of the NFL has never been tax exempt."
One thing that this move does certainly do for the NFL is enable it to keep its books (mostly) private.
Goodell is absolutely right. While the NFL has been much-maligned for its tax-exemption (which it should have ditched a while ago), this is kind of a technicality. After the reversal of status, the NFL will most likely be hit with an annual tax burden of $10 million. Then again, it now avails itself to loopholes reserved for large corporate entities, so who knows? We might now end up owing the NFL money (like we owe Facebook money).
One thing that this move does certainly do for the NFL is enable it to keep its books (mostly) private. While Goodell’s executive pay has been ridiculed (he earned $44 million last year), we only know that amount because, as a non-profit, his pay had to be made public. Now it doesn’t. Other than that, it doesn’t seem like too much will change, besides giving critics of the league an opportunity to focus on some of its larger problems, including its ongoing concussion controversy, its difficulty with successfully dealing with domestic violence, and its labyrinthine rule book.
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