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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: seattle seahawks

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February 3, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl Champs

Super Bowl Champs. How sweet the sound. The pure delight of the Seahawks’ 12th Man fans is part of the magic of Sunday’s extraordinary win. Yes, an extraordinary victory. The Denver Broncos, and their knighted, sainted quarterback, Peyton Manning, were expected to be all sorts of trouble. Would the Seahawks be competitive? Yes, of course. Could the…

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Comments | Topics: Broncos, seattle seahawks, Super Bowl

January 31, 2014 at 6:08 AM

Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl and sex trafficking

Opinions are mixed on just how much Super Bowls really attract sex trafficking, but several stories this week  by CBS News, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor place a spotlight on this widespread, illicit crime ahead of the match-up between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.

By Thursday morning, New York’s attorney general announced the arrest of 18 people suspected of running prostitution and drug rings in Manhattan for “high-end clientele” in town for Sunday’s game.

So here’s the message to the 12th man traveling east for the game: Have fun and represent your hometown. Don’t get caught doing you know what.

New Jersey officials are cracking down, too. Gov. Chris Christie has taken a beating in recent weeks for his staff’s shenanigans, but his blunt talk is worth paying attention to. Check out these tweets:

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Comments | Topics: seattle seahawks, sex trafficking, Super Bowl

October 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Poll: Time to strip the NFL of its nonprofit status?

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?

The Seattle Seahawks defeat the Tennessee Titans 20-13 Sunday October 13, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (BETTINA HANSEN/THE SEATTLE TIMES)

The Seattle Seahawks defeat the Tennessee Titans 20-13 Sunday October 13, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. (Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times)

I couldn’t make it past the first graph of this recent Atlantic magazine story, an excerpt from Gregg Easterbrook‘s book “The King of Sports,” without fuming.

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?

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Comments | Topics: congress, football, NFL

October 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Would you let your son play football?

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:
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Comments | Topics: brain injury, football, frontline