The reason that football players make ridiculous amounts of money isn’t because they don’t earn it. But Jeanne, how could you say that? You’re going to be a teacher next year and everyone loves comparing a teacher’s salary to a football player’s salary to make the point that athletes make too much! The difference is that teachers are government employees. The way football players make their money is through selling their product which is, of course, entertainment. They sell the regalia, the merchandising, the seats in the stands, the right to air the games. All those things pay for the exorbitant amount of money rookies get as signing bonuses.
We all know that football players go out and buy nice houses, nice clothes, nice cars. They live the high life their pay checks afford to them. However, what else does this money go to? We can speculate on the particulars. There are endless possibilities. However, in such a politically active season, I decided to seek out what my season tickets help fund: campaign donations.
OpenSecrets.org has an easily searchable database of donations over 250 dollars. You should check it out. You can even see the addresses in your zip code and how it pans out. For instance, my neighborhood is heavily for John McCain. If I couldn’t tell that by signs in everyone’s yards, I could tell by the donation break down. It’s really interesting stuff if you’re a political nerd like me.
To keep this simple, we’re going to stay within the 2008 presidential election and we will do only 8 teams a day. We’ll start with the top valued team in the league according to Forbes: the Dallas Cowboys.
1. The Dallas Cowboys
Let’s take a look at Jerry Jones. Jerry Jones has contributed 2,300 to John McCain’s primary and presidential funds. That is a grand total of 4,600, the max you’re legally allowed to donate to a campaign. However, Jones has donated 25,000 to the Republican National Committee.
Though the Dallas Cowboys team isn’t all on the side of the Republicans. Safety Roy Williams donated 2,300 dollars to Barack Obama.
2. Washington Redskins
It looks like the Redskins like to keep their politics on the down low. There are seven results for the Redskins and only one of them is for a presidential candidate. The first result for the Washington Redskins is a donation Mark Brunnell made to Republican Ander Crenshaw. I am not going to add this into the total because I am just tracking the presidential donations but it is something I find interesting because Crenshaw is in a battle for his Congressional seat here in Jacksonville. Aww, Brunnell still loves us (depending on how you view Crenshaw, that is).
The one and only donation to a presidential campaign is from Arthur Smith. Smith is listed as the quality control coach for the defense on the Redskin’s website. I am going to be honest. I have no idea what that is. Whatever it is, though, Smith can afford to donate 250 dollars to John McCain.
3. New England Patriots
After Jerry Jones’s donations, I thought that the Republicans had a stronghold on the NFL owners. The Patriots’ owner, Robert Kraft, proved me wrong. Kraft hasn’t directly donated to a campaign but he has donated 20,400 dollars to DNC Service Corporation and 15,000 to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for a total of 35,400 dollars. That was all within the last year.
4. New York Giants
Believe it or not, OpenSecrets doesn’t have a single Giant employee donating any money over 250 dollars. Not even the owners. I will admit, I am somewhat surprised. Way to ruin my snooping fun, New York Giants.
5. New York Jets
Now here’s a team that knows how to spend money!Let’s look at New York Jets president Jay Cross‘s donations:
4,200 to Mitt Romney
2,700 to the Republican National Committee
4,600 to John McCain
500 to Rudolph Giuliani
This guy really likes his Republican candidates. That adds up to an even 12,000 dollars.
Todd Peterson, the Jets old kicker, donated 2,300 dollars to Barack Obama.
6. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are, obviously, in Texas. It goes without saying that it is a very red state. Does the football team match that? You betcha!
Vice Chairman Philip Burguieres has donated 4,400 dollars to Rudolph Guiliani and 4,600 to John McCain. Owner Robert McNair has donated 4,600 dollars to Rudolph Guiliani, 2,300 to Mit Romney, and 2,300 to Fred Thompson. Together, they’ve donated 18,200 to the Republicans. Some of that money they got back from Guiliani’s campaign because he didn’t run for president so the total is 13,800 dollars.
On the other hand, defensive end Anthony Weaver donated 500 dollars to Barack Obama. I am beginning to see a trend between the players and the coaches, here.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles look like they are an anomaly in the NFL. All but one person who has donated has given money to the Democrats. President Joe Banner has donated 2,300 to Hillary Clinton. Owner Jeffery Laurie donated 10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Committee. Coach Andy Reid bucked the trend and donated 2,300 to Mitt Romney.
8. Indianapolis Colts
Owner James Irsay is a little confused, I think. He has donated 2,500 dollars to a Democratic committee and 2,500 to a Republican committee. Maybe he is a maverick.
Final Amount for day one
Join us tomorrow to see where the money goes for the Bears, Ravens, Broncos, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Panthers, Browns and Packers!