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National Anthem Protests Put Pressure On Bill To Defund Sports Arenas

Senators proposed a bill this summer to prevent federal taxpayer funding from going towards the construction of professional sports arenas, and after more players began supporting the protest of the national anthem before games, the legislation may begin to pick up steam.

A companion measure to the legislation was already proposed in the House back in March by Oklahoma Republican Rep. Steve Russell.

Last June, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford put forth a bill that would ban professional sports teams from using municipal bonds in relation to federal funding to build their sports arenas.

“Professional sports teams generate billions of dollars in revenue,” Booker said in a statement. “There’s no reason why we should give these multimillion-dollar businesses a federal tax break to build new stadiums. It’s not fair to finance these expensive projects on the backs of taxpayers, especially when wealthy teams end up reaping most of the benefits.”

The Oklahoma Republican senator agreed, saying, “The federal government is responsible for a lot of important functions, but financing sports stadiums for multi-million – sometimes billion – dollar franchises is definitely not one of them.”

A spokesman from Lankford’s office told The Daily Caller Sunday that in the last four weeks interest in the bill has picked up since both members proposed it four months ago.

Should taxpayers have to pick up the tab for stadiums for wealthy professional athletes and team owners who thumb their noses when the national anthem is played in those very stadiums?

Players on the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, all who can potentially benefit from taxpayer dollars at the local, state and federal levels, followed the lead of former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick Sunday. They kneeled during the national anthem at a game against each other in London. Other teams stayed in their locker rooms for the anthem.

The incident happened one day after President Donald Trump criticized professional football players who kneel during the anthem, which set off a war of words on Twitter between the president and professional sports figures.

Kaepernick claimed his protest of the national anthem last season stemmed from treatment of blacks by law enforcement, but by the end of the season Kaepernick’s demonstrations, joined at that point by other players, led the reason to the league’s TV ratings plunge, ESPN reported.

Not only have viewers bid farewell to the NFL but attendees at teams’ taxpayer-funded stadiums appear to be refusing to fill seats. Last Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers and the L.A. Rams played before a poorly attended crowd.

According to Booker and Lankford, for the past 17 years, 36 professional athletic stadiums have been built or renovated by federal tax-exempted municipal bonds. This cost taxpayers $3.2 billion dollars, the Brookings Institute reported last year.

Despite claims from local officials and team owners that the construction of these stadiums would create jobs and economic growth, research from the Journal of Economic Perspectives showed “there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development,” specifically aimed at income growth or job creation.

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  1. Phyllis White

    September 25, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Taxpayers should not have to pick up the tab for the stadiums.

    • Mauri

      September 25, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      I totally agree, Phyllis. I can’t believe these stupid, dumb congressmen and -women, both Republican and Democrat, would even think of voting for a bill that would put the burden of about 3.2 billion dollars on the taxpayers. How much money did the Republicans and Democrats each get for voting this bill in???

    • Dr. Johnny Ashburn

      September 25, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Oh you are so very right. I am for taking the money used for pro football, pro basket ball and other federally funded sports except the Olympics . Remember our Real athlets are those who compete for their nations.

  2. Wayne Owens

    September 25, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    I like auto racing and golf. If I wanted to build a golf course or a race track using taxpayer financing, I would be laughed at.

  3. Frances Sellers

    September 25, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Shame on them!!! Take away their salaries and sponsorships and people need to stand together and STOP GOING T O THE GAMES


    September 25, 2017 at 10:51 pm


  5. Kenneth

    September 25, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Would definitely support this bill. The damn pampered athletes would learn a thing or two about patriotism. As would the owners when they won’t find funding for an arena which force them to fire players who keep pulling these stupid stunts.

  6. Judy V

    September 25, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    What ALSO needs to be done is defund BUSINESS TAX DEDUCTIONS for sporting events. Companies buy blocks of tickets for sporting events and hand them out to their clients and claim a tax deduction. In my opinion this needs to stop! It raises the costs of tickets because these people don’t care how much they cost–they claim a tax deduction on them. Stop that and they will stop buying tickets. If more people stopped buying tickets, the owners will lower the “salaries” of these overpaid, disrespectful, hateful elitists! (Not all are in the category I just mentioned, but they ALL ARE overpaid!) If they lowered their salaries, tickets would be less expensive for the “forgotten man”, and thus they would be able to afford to go to them more. When I was a kid, many, many moons ago, my Daddy brought me to games and the tickets were $1.00! Now families have to max out their credit cards to get a decent seat at a sporting event. Boycott them! And yes, stop funding their nonsense!

  7. Princess Diana

    September 25, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    I certainly did not know federal funds were used to build these stadiums. Ridiculous!! No more of this nonsense. They are private enterprise and no federal funds should go to them, period.

  8. bluewren

    September 26, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Well it is something I hope the President will look at seriously.

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