10:12 AM, Aug 8, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The fight over television blackouts of NFL games is on again. The league, which may be the most successful, powerful, and popular sports conglomerate in history, is lobbying Congress for some of its famous protective services. The thing comes down to the issue of whether or not games that have not been sold out should be broadcast in local markets. Just the sort of thing you sent your representative to Washington to deal with, right?
As Julian Hattem of The Hill reports, the NFL “argues the rule helps teams sell tickets and creates a compelling stadium atmosphere, allowing the NFL to keep games on free television.”
(“Free television” would be the kind with the ads that stretch a two-hour game into four hours.)
And why should Washington be getting involved? Well, because the NFL believes “the FCC’s sports blackout rule remains necessary and in the public interest.”
The NFL doesn’t really need the government’s muscle to get what it wants:
Even if the FCC did get rid of the rule, leagues like the NFL would still be able to negotiate individually with broadcasters, cable providers and satellite companies to black out some games.
But force is so much easier.
11:01 AM, Jun 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The white-hot issue of what to call the professional football team currently playing its home games in the vicinity of the nation’s capital just got hotter. Earlier this week, Senator Harry Reid said he wouldn’t accept comp tickets (truly a first for a sitting senator) to the team’s games so long as it continued to be called the “Redskins.”
10:04 AM, May 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
First Lady Michelle Obama plays a sideline reporter in a video with NFL star-turned White House chef Richard Sherman in a video promoting healthy eating:
"Well, let me tell you," Sherman shouts at Obama. "We the best chefs in the game. So when you try us with an easy meal like salmon cakes and succotash, that's the result you going to get."
"Wow, Richard, where'd you learn to do all this?" Obama asks. "I mean, corn, succotash, salmon cakes."
8:08 AM, May 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The NFL commissioner is headed to the White House to dicuss concussions in sports, the Washington Post reports.
1:43 PM, May 22, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Fifty members of the United States Senate haved signed a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urging the league to "endorse a name change for the Washington, D.C. football team," known to the rest of us as the Washington Redskins. The name, the undersigned argue, is a "slur against Native Americans", and the NFL "can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name."
May 26, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 35 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
There was a lot of hullabaloo last week over Michael Sam, who, after being drafted in a late round by the St. Louis Rams, is poised to become the NFL’s first openly gay football player. Sam was the SEC defensive player of the year, so a chance to play in the NFL seems well merited, regardless of his sexual orientation. Some groused that Sam was picked low in the draft because of discrimination, but the fact is that Sam made a poor showing at the league’s scouting combine.
8:35 AM, Jan 25, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
Unlike you, I will be watching the Pro Bowl this weekend, albeit grudgingly.
6:46 PM, Jan 19, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On the one hand, Barack Obama, speaking as a dad, says he "would not let my son play pro football." It's a reasonable judgment, one other parents have made and one they're entitled to make (though enforcing it on recalcitrant sons is another matter!).
10:50 AM, Jan 3, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Cincinnati Bengals won their division and made it to the playoffs but are having difficulty selling enough tickets to this weekend's game against the San Diego Chargers to avoid a local television blackout.
8:29 AM, Nov 5, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The National Football League recently "issued a rule to deny entry to any off-duty police officer who brings a concealed firearm to one of its stadiums …” And, as Eric Katz of Government Executive reports, it is being challenged by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association which represents “more than 26,000 federal workers from more than 65 agencies.”
3:07 PM, Oct 11, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It was a fitting match, yesterday, in Pittsburgh. Kathleen Sebelius and her failing health care plan and the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers, whose coach has resorted to desperate measures such as banning:
1:10 PM, Aug 9, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland city commissioner (as city councilmen are known in the Oregon city) Steve Novick may have been elected only last year, but he’s wasted no time in using his public office to indulge his personal crotchets.
2:47 PM, Jun 28, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The two top Republican senators, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas, have written letters to six professional sports organizations, warning them not to work with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to promote Obamacare. The letters were addressed to the top executives at the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association, and NASCAR.