One of my longstanding themes in talking about sports -- football, anyway -- is how awful the owners are, and how awful rich people are in general. And so when I saw this Tweet from Mother Jones:
We matrix-ified NFL owners based on their political giving and their relative assholery: http://t.co/WXABnOw8K8
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) September 16, 2013
I couldn't help but look, and found THIS:
Which is INCREDIBLE. Even if they did get some stuff wrong.
The highlights, and a few thoughts on things from me:
They rank Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti as a 'keep 'em', which demonstrates just how you're grading on a curve when you talk about the rich. The article notes that Bisciotti ripped his employees out of more than million in back pay, having to get sued to get it, and seems complimentary about how Steve flies his buddies in to watch games on a private jet.
It costs about $5,400 per hour to fly a private jet. Or 744 times the federal minimum hourly wage.
Ralph Wilson, owner of my semi-beloved Bills, is ranked lower than Steve ItalianCookie, even though Wilson, whose franchise is worth $909,000,000 (he bought the team for $25,000, and before you say "Well, that's 1959," keep in mind that $25,000 in 1959 is equal to $200,000 today, so Wilson's Bills -- the awfulest team in the league! -- are worth 4,545 times what he paid for them, in real dollars), got Erie County, Buffalo, to pick up most of the cost of his private stadium. Buffalo has a 9.7% unemployment rate and 1/2 the people living in Buffalo make under $27,000 per year. If I were part of the stupid #BILLSMAFIA I'd burn the stadium to the ground. People who decry socialism in health care need to wonder why tax dollars can pay for stadiums but not dialysis.
Pat Bowlen, another keep 'em on the Broncos, is lauded for making sure it's the "fans' team." Bowlen, worth $1,000,000,000, raised their ticket prices two years in a row. The lowest price now is $45 for terrible seats. That's only two hours' pay for the average worker in Denver -- where the average hourly wage is a seemingly-high $22.45 per hour. That's only $46,000 per year, though. The average Denver fan would have to save for 217,391 years (and four months!) to equal Pat's net worth.
Much of the article fails to highlight just how much public funding goes into supporting the billionaires who get richer everytime you buy a jersey, let alone watch the games. (Yesterday, I watched 3 minutes of San Francisco's game against Seattle, before taking Mr F:
For a ride and then reading Dinosaur Comics.
But a few other highlights:
Paul Allen, who owns the Seahawks and a yacht that costs nearly $400,000 a week to operate, is a keep 'em. Why? Mother Jones gives him credit for donating $1,600,000 to a campaign to support public charter schools. That is 0.01% of his net worth, and no I didn't displace that decimal point. The annual budget for Seattle's public schools is $57,700,000 (as of this year.) Paul Allen could pay for 263 years' worth of public schools, because he is worth $15,000,000,000, and no, I didn't misplace any decimals there, either.
Meanwhile, Jeff Lurie of the Eagles gets lauded for going green -- HA! 'cause the Eagles are green! I get it!-- at his stadium, 36% of which has publicly funded financing according to this report. Can you borrow money from the government to keep up your business' facility? I didn't think so. Lurie, who was born into wealth because his grandfather knew how to start and run a business, was primarily responsible for financing a string of bombs while working for his family's film business, also saw fit to pay Michael Vick to be his starting quarterback. Vick will make $12,500,000 this year. Here is a recap of Vick's career highlight:
2002 : Execution of "Bad Newz Kennels" Pit Bulls that Performed Poorly in "Testing" Sessions :
12. In or about February 2002, PEACE and VICK "rolled" or "tested" some of their fighting dogs against other dogs owned by CW 1 and others in Virginia Beach, Virginia. "Rolling" or "testing" a fighting dog means placing the dog in a short fighting match to determine how well the animal fights . One of the pit bulls sponsored by PEACE and VICK in this "testing" session did not fight very well .
13 . In or about February 2002, PEACE executed the pit bull that did not perform well in the "testing" session by shooting it with a .22 caliber pistol .
14 . In or about the summer of 2002 at various times, the exact dates being unknown to the Grand Jury, PEACE, PHILLIPS, TAYLOR, and VICK "rolled" or "tested" additional - Bad Newz Kennels" dogs by putting the dogs through fighting sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road to determine which animals were good fighters .
15 . In or about the summer of 2002, PEACE executed at least one dog that did not perform well in a "testing" session at 1915 Moonlight Road by shooting the animal .
16 . In or about the summer of 2002, PHILLIPS executed at least one dog that did not perform well in a "testing" session at 1915 Moonlight Road by shooting the animal,
17. In or about the summer of 2002, TAYLOR executed at least two dogs that did not perform well in "testing" sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by shooting one dog and electrocuting the other .That's from the grand jury indictment. There's no word on whether Vick now uses "green power" to electrocute dogs that don't perform well in fights.
There could be more. I don't have time to properly investigate each and every person on Mother Jones' list. The point is, wWhen you grade people on a curve, someone has to pass and someone has to fail. But why should we judge the rich by standards other than how we judge the poor or middle class? Would you laud someone for giving $4.60 to a charity? If you make $46,000 per year, that's the same percentage of income that Paul Allen, horrible person, gave to the public school fight -- but the $4.60 is a lot harder for someone making only $46,000 per year to part with, because after giving that $4.60, that person has only $45,995.40 left. After giving up his $1,600,000, Paul Allen is left with $14,998,400,000.
Keep that in mind the next time you laud someone for being great, Mother Jones -- and, football fans? Do what I do: every time you spend money on a football-related item, give an equal amount to a charity. Then you might have a chance to get into Heaven where, if there's any justice, NOBODY has a yacht that costs $400,000 a week to operate.