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Volume 22 No. 14
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NFLPA’s PAC makes no contributions in first year

The NFLPA’s political action committee, the first and thus far only one among major sports unions, raised more than $700,000 from its players last year, its first full year, but made no political contributions, according to the labor group’s filing last month with the Federal Election Committee.


By contrast, the NFL’s Gridiron PAC raised less, just over $614,000, but spent over $283,000 in political contributions, according to the league’s FEC filing.


The NFLPA, which declined to comment, raised all of its money from 1,000 individual contributions from players, all dated on Nov. 2, 2017, the union’s federal filing shows. The contributions ranged from $250 to $5,000, with Jacksonville Jaguars lineman Jermey Parnell and union head DeMaurice Smith making the largest contributions.


Political experts were puzzled why the NFLPA, which is based in Washington, D.C., would not have made any political contributions, especially with players in the news so often because of the controversy surrounding kneeling during the national anthem.


“It is unusual,” said political consultant Mathew Littman, when asked about a year-and-a-half-old PAC not making contributions. “It is unusual not to give away money because it seems to me players need good relationships in Congress, and PAC money can help build those relationships.”


Littman said players would want to make their voices heard on topics such as the expiration of the collective-bargaining agreement in three seasons, brain injuries and social issues.


A source close to the NFLPA said the PAC is bipartisan and focused on issues specific to players such as health and safety, workers compensation and intellectual property. The source said contributions will be made federally and locally, too.


The NFL has contributed $3.3 million from its Gridiron PAC since its inception in 2007, the FEC website shows. The contributions last year ranged from liberal stalwart Rep. Nancy Pelosi to GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who attended the annual commissioner’s party during Super Bowl week this month.


The NFL PAC gave $1,000 to Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee on Sept. 28, 2017, the NFL FEC filing shows, two days after she introduced a bill to “remind” people how they should behave during the playing of the national anthem.


Most owners gave $5,000 to the PAC during 2017, with heavy contributions coming from executives of the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons. In fact, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn gave $1,000, the only contribution from a coach listed in the NFL filing.