SBD/July 3, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Are NFL Execs Wise Or "Pushovers" For Declining To Promote Obamacare?

The N.Y. TIMES editorial board weighs in on the Obama administration’s efforts to urge sports leagues to help promote Obamacare under the header, "A Chance For Pro Sports To Help On Health Care." It criticizes GOP leaders for trying to "hinder reform by preventing people from even learning about it, citing the divisiveness they caused." The NFL, given its "struggle with on-field injuries," would "do well to help 25 million people receive the health insurance to which they are now legally entitled." However, so far "it seems the intimidation" from U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) "is working." The NFL last week said that it has "no plans to help out, and the other leagues have yet to sign on." The editorial: "Apparently, when confronted with bullying and misinformation, a bunch of professional tough guys are nothing but pushovers" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/3). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee wrote the Obama administration "has learned a lesson already obvious to other sports leagues, corporations and fans: One does not simply tell the NFL what to do." Promotion of Obamacare on its face "seemed a curious stance for the NFL to take." For a league "interested in appealing to the widest possible fan base, aligning with one political point of view -- any point of view -- would effectively tick off up to half your audience." The NFL and other leagues historically have "preferred to remain politically agnostic, supporting social causes." As "popular as the NFL is, the league could advocate anything this side of puppy-kicking and still retain a significant segment of its viewership." But fans "aren't the only consideration here." The NFL could have "plenty of issues in front of Congress in coming sessions, from health and concussion concerns to ongoing antitrust matters." From the league's perspective, there is "no advantage in riling up members of either party that could make life more difficult with the stroke of a pen" (, 7/2).
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