Okay, POPSspot is three Sundays late on this, but it’s better to be late to the Super Bowl Party than not show up at all. On the day of the Super Bowl, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry held a wonderful pre-game Super Bowl talk show rarely found in corporate media outside of HBO Real Sports. You won’t find this content and level of analysis by NFL partner ESPN — on First Take or Outside the Lines. For two straight hours, MHP and various panelists and former players addressed topics such as “Who Gets Paid at the Superbowl”, “Are Student Athletes Employees?”, “Sports Culture and Bullying”, “Race and Manhood”, and “Sex Trafficking”. Most of the show has been broken up into seven parts below.

I. WHEN IT COMES TO SUPER BOWL WHO GETS PAID?
From player salaries to sky-high ticket prices, it seems the Super Bowl is as much about economics as it is about the game. Roman Oben, Dave Zirin, Amy Nelson and Wade Davis discuss.

Amy Nelson: NFL is “laughably tax-exempt”
‘The Super Bowl is really home to one percenters, if you don`t have average fans, really, who are obviously able to afford the game. And we`re talking about a league that is laughably tax exempt. We are talking about the league that has built the majority of public stadiums off taxpayers’ money. We`re talking about in a league New Orleans, your city, its owner has given been inducement payments for years, millions of millions in dollars just to stay in New Orleans.
Dave Zirin: “Super Bowl is like Woodstock for the one percent”

“NFL owners… are the welfare kings of the United States. We`re talking $18.5 billion, $900 million a year over the last 20 years for NFL ownership. So, what you end up having is what I call it a neoliberal horse because you have neoliberal economics projected on cities through stadium construction under the guise of sports, which people are more likely to support than if you said, hey, let’s give $900 million, let’s give a billion dollar gift to a billionaire. Most people would oppose that. But when you cloak it in the guise of sports, we’ll take this team and leave then they say it is good economics. [But] every single study from the Brookings Institute to the Cato Institute says that stadium funding is not good economics. If you flew a plane over New York City and dropped the billion dollars on the street and people could pick up the money and spend it in local stores that would do better for the local economy than building a stadium.”

Roman Oben, Former NFL Player

“As a player…, you are so oblivious to all these other numbers and stats and the economy of the game and who benefits. But one thing that was compelling to me is that these Nielson ratings of these fans that can’t afford to go to the game, that’s what they use to measure to sell the spots at $4 million every 30 seconds. And then with the local businesses, hotels can triple their price for the weekend, but you can’t triple your costs of a burger at the restaurant for a weekend because over the course of a year, you won’t really benefit as a local business as much from the Super Bowl coming one weekend.”

Wade Davis, Former NFL Player: “Socialism with Owners, Capitalism with Players”

“I think the one thing about the NFL is that its socialism with the owners and capitalism with the players, right? You know that there is this revenue sharing aspect amongst the owners where they exist in this really beautiful space. But if you were to talk to owners outside of the football realm, they would be really against the idea of socialism where its players are in this capitalistic like a free market entity where as long as there is value to you, we actually want you. But as soon as you get owed we discard of you.”


II. IS THE NFL BEHIND IN CARING FOR ITS PLAYERS?
The MHP table talks about NFL brain injuries and the healthcare package that the league provides for veteran players.

III. ARE STUDENT ATHLETES EMPLOYEES?:
For the first time in the history of college sports, players are asking for union representation so they can be recognized as employees in addition to college athletes.

IV. RACE AND MANHOOD IN TODAY’S NFL

Issues around race and manhood are still a factor in today’s NFL, something made clear by the recent controversy over Richard Sherman’s post-game interview.

V. DOES SPORTS CULTURE PROMOTE BULLYING?
The MHP panel discusses Jonathan Martin’s bullying allegations against his former Miami Dolphins teammates.

 

VI: THE REALITY OF SEX TRAFFICKING AT THE SUPERBOWL
The claims about sporting events and sex trafficking do not come without consequences for the very women law enforcement is looking to protect. Deon Haywood, Dave Zirin, Joy Reid and Yamiche Alcindor discuss.

 

VII: FEW MINORITIES IN NFL POWER POSITIONS
With four active head coaches of color in the NFL and five active minority general managers, Melissa Harris-Perry asks why so few minorities are hired at these levels.

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