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

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.

Related posts