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February 5, 2014 at 6:20 AM
The Seattle Seahawks are throwing the 12th Man the biggest super-sized party Seattle has seen since 1979. And they’re picking up the bill.
The Seahawks’ city-issued parade permit includes standard costs for traffic control, said Jeff Reading, Mayor Ed Murray’s spokesman. Costs above that – including a call-out of “every available police officer,” according to a city source – will be paid for by the Seahawks.
How much that will be is a secret, for now. Seattle police don’t disclose costs for big events in advance, for security reasons. (more…)
February 4, 2014 at 6:07 AM
The Seattle Seahawks gave the world a heck of a game Sunday night. Now it’s time for the 12th Man and all football viewers to give a little something back. How about some attention on the issue of traumatic brain injuries among current and former football players?
Not to be a Debbie Downer in the midst of this town’s post-Super Bowl euphoria, but this is a good time to praise Seahawks owner Paul Allen for investing in traumatic brain injury (TBI) research here in Seattle. Read this Nov. 20, 2013 Seattle Times news story on Allen’s $2.4 million donation toward research. Shortly after, the editorial board published this opinion:
By emulating the latest investment, other NFL owners would stand to gain value and credibility with fans who increasingly care about balancing game-time thrills and the long-term health of athletes.
In a Jan. 31 Forbes.com Q&A, Allen reiterated that he is working closely with the league:
We’ve talked extensively with the league about the kind of research that should be done and that we want to do. We’ve specialized until now on the genetic characteristics of brains and how cells are affected by different conditions. Now we’re going to get some brain tissue from a bunch of different sources. You can have concussion trauma from all sorts of things, like IEDs in Iraq and motorcycle accidents. We’re going to look at some of this tissue and see how it differs from some of the tissue we’ve already scanned and have in our data banks to see how genetic characteristics have changed. But it’s going to take us a few years to get a better handle scientifically, at a very detailed level, what happens when you get a concussion. We’re cooperating with some of the same scientists that the league is working with. We’ve talked about everything from helmets to measuring impacts in real-time on the field.
Last month, CBS News reports the NFL made a smart decision to invest millions more into research through a partnership with the National Institutes of Health. The league can’t afford to ignore this problem. (more…)
December 30, 2013 at 1:49 PM
I was at a ramen house in University Village on Sunday with my sister from Los Angeles, refreshing the Seahawks app on my phone between slurps and conversation. My Twitter feed, too. We headed to a dessert shop afterward. A well-dressed mother and young daughter sitting next to us wondered aloud what the score was. I broke out my phone and gave them an update. Just four ladies at Fran’s Chocolates, talking football. The little girl’s father is a rabid fan and season ticket-holder. They weren’t with him at the game, but they were with him in spirit.
On Sunday, the Seahawks won the NFC West division title by beating the St. Louis Rams and secured home-field advantage until the Super Bowl.
For the first time in my life, this Washington native is genuinely interested in Seahawks football.
I’m cheering on my home team because it unites us. Brings us together during these dark, cold dreary days of winter. (more…)
October 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Are we so blinded by our love of sports that we’re willing to be fleeced by the most profitable sports league in the world and its billionaire team owners?
In Virginia, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, who styles himself as a budget-slashing conservative crusader, took $4 million from taxpayers’ pockets and handed the money to the Washington Redskins, for the team to upgrade a workout facility. Hoping to avoid scrutiny, McDonnell approved the gift while the state legislature was out of session. The Redskins’ owner, Dan Snyder, has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $1 billion. But even billionaires like to receive expensive gifts.
Throughout the report, Easterbrook provides an exhaustive look at how American taxpayers have financed “70 percent of the capital cost of NFL stadiums,” in addition to many ongoing infrastructure and operating costs. Here’s a tidbit about the Seattle Seahawks:
CenturyLink Field, where the Seattle Seahawks play, opened in 2002, with Washington State taxpayers providing $390 million of the $560 million construction cost. The Seahawks, owned by Paul Allen, one of the richest people in the world, pay the state about $1 million annually in rent in return for most of the revenue from ticket sales, concessions, parking, and broadcasting (all told, perhaps $200 million a year).
The Seahawks are a great team, but this is just plain wrong, especially when we’re struggling to fully fund public education and to sustain the cost of essential services such as the Metro transit system and health care.
Here’s the kicker: The National Football League is tax exempt. To the IRS, the NFL has been known as the Nonprofit Football League for decades. NBC News reports it gets away with this by only claiming tax immunity for the main office, which operated in 2011 with about $255 million worth of revenue. The NFL’s main function is to distribute billions generated from licensing and television deals to its 32 for-profit teams, each worth on average $1.2 billion according to this Forbes report. Still doesn’t pass the smell test. How many trade or charitable organizations pay their top official (in this case NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) nearly $30 million? (more…)
October 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Sorry to bring everyone down from their Sunday Seahawks high, but the question must be asked in light of mounting evidence that football is a dangerous game: Would you let your son play football?
Whether you have a kid or want to answer this hypothetically, here’s a quick poll:
Regardless of your answer, the NFL is here to stay. Americans adore football despite dire warnings from scientists that football has caused long-term brain damage in some players.
- Last week, PBS’s investigative series “Frontline” broadcast a two-hour program on this topic. Here’s a link to a brief, must-see visual interactive explaining how Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy has affected at least 50 players as young as 17. Watch the program below:
- Author and New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell wrote a thought-provoking and influential piece in 2009 comparing football to dogfighting. He has not let up on his criticism of the game, as tracked in this August report from The Atlantic.
- On Friday, The New York Times’ editorial page published a fascinating guest column by Gregg Easterbrook, author of “The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America.” in which he argues President Obama needs to get involved in reforming the game today, just as former President Theodore Roosevelt did in the early, bloody days of football. Easterbrook writes that Roosevelt’s involvement made college football less brutal and led to the creation of the NCAA. (more…)