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Q&A: NFL: fines, profits, injuries

Where NFL fines go

It seems every week we read about the fines being assessed against NFL players. Where does this money go?

"Player fine money is used to support retired player programs, as well as other charitable causes as agreed upon between the NFL and NFL Players Association," David Krichavsky, the NFL's director of community affairs, told USA Today in 2010. "Every letter notifying the player of a fine indicates where the fine money goes. I have gotten feedback from players who don't like writing the check to the NFL, but they are pleased to know it does not go back into our coffers but to charitable organizations."

In 2012, the NFL collected $2.87 million from 160 fines, according to a report at the Motley Fool website.

NFL's a nonprofit?

I recently heard of a move in Congress to take away the nonprofit status of the NFL. How can the NFL have a nonprofit status with so much money dictating so many moves?

The NFL is exempt under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code because it was organized as a trade or industry association. That section specifically mentions "professional football leagues (whether or not administering a pension fund for football players), along with "business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards and boards of trade."

Attorney Jeffrey Tenenbaum told ESPN.com that the NFL is "an organization whose primary purpose is to further the industry or profession it represents." The NFL receives funding from its 32 franchises to "cover its nonrevenue overhead activities such as office rent, league office salaries and game officiating," a league spokesman told ESPN.com. The NFL also collects revenues and distributes them to all 32 teams.

The NHL and the PGA Tour also fall under this section, but Major League Baseball gave up this status in 2007 and the NBA is a for-profit organization. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has introduced the PRO Sports Act, which would take away the nonprofit status of the NFL and other pro sports organizations. His "Wastebook 2012" report stated "taxpayers may be losing at least $91 million subsidizing these tax loopholes for professional sports leagues that generate billions of dollars annually in profits."

Injured reserve status

When a NFL player is placed on injured reserve, does he get his full pay and allowed to attend team functions?

NFL players on injured reserve are paid according to the terms of their contract and can attend team functions. Many work out, rehabilitate and attend meetings at team facilities until they are healthy.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email answers@tampabay.com.

Q&A: NFL: fines, profits, injuries 12/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 11:36am]
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