Bill Maher: The NFL Embraces Socialism

He’s right, of course. For the sake of creating parity among the teams, and thus better weekly match ups and more unpredictable playoffs, the NFL uses wealth redistribution.

And so do other professional sports leagues, most notably the MLB which taxes high-payroll teams like the New York Yankees and redistributes those dollars to other teams.


Socialism in sports works, at least as far as sports broadcasters and league officials are concerned. They keep more teams competitive which leads to more exciting games. In this sport fan’s opinion, I’d rather see the best teams unshackled from these policies so that they can put together the best teams they’re capable of. But then what I look for is the game played at its very best, not necessarily extra-competitive match-ups.

Plus, I’m a Yankees fan. What else can I say?

But while socialism may work well within the microcosm of professional sports, it works terribly in society at large. In professional sports, league owners have a vested interest in ensuring that the wealth redistribution is truly equitable. In socialist societies, those in charge of wealth redistribution are almost always corrupt and the redistribution ends up favoring some over others.

In order to have a regime capable of implementing socialism you must have some central power capable of implementing and enforcing redistributionist policies. But power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is where socialism inevitably breaks down. The only sort of government that can ensure freedom and liberty is the sort of government that distributes power rather than consolidating it with a central power.

And don’t forget the impact socialism has on innovation and invention. In professional sports there’s really only so many ways you can field a double play or run for a touchdown. But in society, we aren’t just playing a game. We’re living, and almost all of the invention and innovation that has made our lives better and more enjoyable have happened because of a profit motive.

Socialism removes profit motive, and thus suppresses invention and innovation.

Say what you want about socialism in sports, but just because it makes the weekly NFL matchups more exciting it doesn’t mean it would make our lives in the real world better.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Dakota

    “We’re living, and almost all of the invention and innovation that has made our lives better and more enjoyable have happened because of a profit motive.”

    What a bunch of bullshit! Most of the world’s inventions had nothing to do with profit. Think of the discovery of medicines, telephone, electricity lightbulbs, and much of the research that goes on at colleges and universities that have lead to innovations.

    That was just an asinine statement to make. Just do a bit of research before you make a such a stupid statement!

    • 2hotel9

      duhkota toddles through to spew the standard leftard lies and sh*t. How typical. Profit had everything to do with medical advancement, and all of Alva Edison’s work was FOR PROFIT, you whiny lying c*nt.

    • Rob


      If you’re going to tell me that Thomas Edison wasn’t motivated by profits I’m going to have to call you ignorant.

      And that from someone who just told me to “do a bit of research” before making “stupid statements.”

      Take your own advice.

      • flamemeister

        I think Duh-kota got his history from Little Golden Large Print 4th grade romanticized pot-boilers on the Great Inventors. Edison was about as hardnosed a profit-mad capitalist as one could ever imagine. Yes, there is a bunch of bullsh!t, and it’s all coming from Big Duh.

        • Guest

          Dakota is right. Profit motive does lead to advances because for-profit investors tend to be risk averse.

          The Manhattan project was not ‘for profit’ and it showed us what large amounts of government funding for fundamental research can do. The Cons missed all that. Reagan killed it and we have begun the social and strategic descent which follows no longer investing in fundamental research and large-scale science.

          But have fun riding your ideology whereever it takes you, gut-knowing clown ass emmer-effers…

          • flamemeister

            (1) Where does Duh-kota say that “Profit motive does lead to advances because for-profit investors tend to be risk averse.” (sense?)

            (2) What does that mean? “For-profit investors” as opposed to “loss-of-capital investors?”

            (3) Most sane people are risk-averse in financial matters, the rest go to Vegas. Investors generally follow the principle of risk-reward. The government doesn’t worry. They are risking someone else’s money.

            (4) The Manhattan Project as an example of anything other than a massive emergency effort requiring huge coordination and unlimited funding to respond to an international disaster (WW II)? How weird.

            (5) Wanna try again doofus?

          • Mountainmouth

            (2) What does that mean? “For-profit investors” as opposed to “loss-of-capital investors?”

            That is liberal speak for government program.
            The government never makes money on anything –
            That is why they always want to raise taxes and confiscate more property and wealth.

          • robert108

            Wrong again. The basic research in atomic energy was done by individuals, not by massive govt spending. The Manhattan Project had to get results before the Nazis got the bomb. False equivalence to peacetime business.

          • flamemeister

            Sparkie, like hannitized, frequently make postings that are so thoroughly stupid one wonders if some sort of trick is being played, but no—they really are that stupid.

          • 2hotel9

            Poor methhead2, too stupid to read, and too stupid too read. Just plain stupid.

    • flamemeister

      How very stupid! I read it once more. It got even stupider! Pray, bonehead, what are you thinking? What are you thinking with? You don’t think money isn’t involved in university research? (grants from private companies, University royalties and research fees, job advancements, consultantships) Do you know anything? Or do you deliberately pick a topic of which you know nothing and indulge in some weird form of masochism by defining yourself as a major moonbat asshat? Get off this blog. You’ve lowered its average IQ by 20 points, and that may well be the major accomplishment of your dried-out little life.

    • RKae

      If Edison wasn’t motivated by profit, why did he ruthlessly destroy competitors, steal ideas, and push propaganda on the public concerning the uncontrollable dangers of AC?

      You’re saying he was unscrupulously altruistic? That’s an interesting concept.

      • flamemeister

        Edison was a real piece of work. He got a ton of work and new ideas out of Tesla, promised him a good piece of the action, then after Tesla delivered, Edison said he’d just “been joking.” His attempt to discredit alternating current by promoting the electric chair to fry Kemmler was one way he dealt with competitors. Great story.

      • Rob

        When history is inconvenient, ignore history.

    • Mountainmouth

      I think we have a new leader in the race for #1 idiot.

      All of the examples you cited were perhaps the biggest moneymakers ever.
      Thomas Edison called the telephone the most valuable patent in history.

      The dumb asses at the universities would be doing research in the dark, were it not for private secetor innovation and invention. The Colleges and Universities make contributions occasionally but you can’t beat profit motive for inspiration.
      If we can get the government out of the way, we would see real innovation instead of agenda driven money pits like Cap and trade and electric cars that people don’t want

      • flamemeister

        This IS exciting! A brand-new #1 Idiot! Duh-kota should be proud, the competition for #1 Idiot on this blog is very stiff. This drops hannitized into the #2 spot, with WOOF a close third. That’s my line-up, anyway.

        • Mountainmouth

          They all give it their best shot, so it may not be fair to crown a king.

          It might be better to have a daily idiot award winner.

          Dakota certainly should be acknowledged for today’s entry.

          • flamemeister

            It’s a toughie, I guess. Daily, and weekly overall? Perhaps a lifetime achievement award?

  • DopeyDem

    And Jeffey Immelt is hangin with Obumbler just because he likes the guy. Nothing in it for profits for GE? Please……

  • WOOF

    I get the impression that professional sports are monopolistic cartels dedicated to selling beer.

    • 2hotel9

      Finally you something approaching intelligent. Don’t forget selling cars! All the major car manufacturers sponsor sports events, heavily.

  • Brent

    Ummm… you can’t be a “socialist” when you are dealing with your own property. The owners are not acting as socialists when they contractually agree to the rules they are going to abide by in the pursuit of profit.

    Sports teams are only socialists in so far as they get taxpayer-funded stadiums, which bloats their bottom lines.

    • Rob

      I agree on the taxpayer-funded stadiums, but I think you’re nit-picking a bit on the “socialism” in pro sports. Yes, they all agree to participate and sign contracts to do so, but the wealth redistribution is a socialist tenet.

      • robert108

        It’s the difference between a group and a team. Groups are socialistic, teams are free enterprise, for profit entities.

  • Guest

    Football is not hockey, so who gives a crap about it?

  • Justin Blackburn

    Rob, this is not “socialism”. The individual owners own a franchise and agree to pay franchise fees just the same as McDonalds. They do this so that they can obtain the economies of scale of having centralized negotiated collective bargaining agreements and lobbying as well as negotiate television contracts. The NFL is not an “industry” it is a single entity with multiple franchisees that are allowed to operate semi-independent teams.

    So imagine General Electric as one massive company with 32 different “divisions”. Each VP of each division gets a bonus based on the financial operating conditions of his division and all divisions produce the same products. Imagine how each division would slit each other’s throat to get a bigger bonus and how if this was the case, the CEO ultimately would have to tightly control the rules of the game so that the shareholders instead of the execs benefited.

    The real question Bill Maher should concern himself with is whether union collective bargaining is the real problem. See, the union IS SOCIALIST. It sets the compensation level for its employees, though it does allow some flexibility within the ranks. However, it has a minimum pay scale and forces benefits packages and workplace rules on the owners.

    But both of these situations exist because the NFL does not want to admit the Des Moines Ethanolers into the league and wants to close their monopoly off from outside regulation. So maybe more than anything it is Crony Capitalism at its best. Fix the rules just enough that the Government leaves you alone and spread the wealth around just enough that no one complains.

    Come to think of it, anti-trust exemptions work about like Obamacare exemptions. One set of laws for us rubes and another for the politically powerful and rich and well connected.

    • NDSuperman

      That was great stuff

    • 2hotel9

      Justin? You need to send this to Bill Maher. I doubt he would understand it, though.

  • NDSuperman

    Is there a leftist policy that doesn’t have the inverse effect?

    Maher makes the point to pit MLB against the NFL. NFL games are bigger events because there are so many fewer games, and Rob’s daughter probably even watches the Super Bowl because Justin Beiber (or whoever) is the halftime entertainment. However, Maher makes no reference to attendance. The Minnesota Twins drew 3,223,640 “ass in seat” last year and the top draw in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, drew 696,377.