FIFA has nothing on the NFL.
Maybe you’ve heard the shocking news that a country, where it’s 108 degrees when the games are played, Qatar, appears to have seen the need to bribe the people in charge in order to get the World Cup there in 2022.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice department indicted 14 people on charges of bribery, racketeering, money-laundering and other charges. Two days later, FIFA reelected Sepp Blatter, the man in charge while all this corruption was going on, to his fifth term as president.
All over the world, there are tumbleweeds bouncing around and through stadiums that were built by corrupt governments to lure the World Cup and or the Olympics to their countries.
And most people didn’t need the U.S. Justice Department to confirm their suspicions that palms were being greased.
The national media, sports and otherwise, have been all over the soccer corruption story. It’s received almost as much coverage as Deflategate.
But you know what’s been getting very little coverage? San Diegogate.
Okay, nobody’s calling it San Diegogate because not enough people care to qualify it for a “gate.”
Inept, corrupt politicians have spent billions of government dollars on stadiums for more than 40 years, many times in direct opposition to the people who elected them.
And just as with FIFA, those same politicians keep winning elections. The difference, of course, is that ol’ Sepp is not a government official.
The San Diego Chargers are the latest NFL team that seems to have succeeded in extorting tax money for a $1.2 billon stadium by threatening a move to Los Angeles.
The Chargers play in a 40-year-old stadium and the NFL can’t have that, even if the people in San Diego aren’t interested in having their money confiscated and given to a billion-dollar corporation.
The national non-sports media was all over Deflategate. They were talking about Tom Brady’s deflated footballs on the network newscasts and even the Sunday talk shows.
But have you heard or seen anybody talking about the corruption in San Diego?
The sports guys will talk about the possibility of the Chargers moving to Los Angeles because it’s a sports story, but have you seen the level of interest or outrage that Deflategate received?
The San Diego politicians stood against using tax dollars for a new stadium until the relocation of the Chargers became a real possibility, which is exactly what the NFL was counting on and why Los Angeles has been without a team for so long.
How many millions of taxpayers have been bilked out of their hard earned money to build stadiums for teams that have threatened to move to Lala Land?
St. Louis taxpayers were forced to pay for a domed stadium in order to lure Rams there. Now the owner of the Rams is threatening to move back to Los Angeles if he doesn’t get a new stadium in St. Louis.
The law in San Diego required any new taxes for stadiums to be put to a public vote but, as seems to miraculously happen a lot when the NFL is involved, the advisory board appointed by the mayor came up with a plan that doesn’t actually include new taxes.
It does include the sale of 75 acres of prime real estate which, instead of going to the taxpayers, will go the San Diego Chargers.
How is the continued confiscation of billions of taxpayer dollars to give to NFL owners any less corrupt than what’s been going on with FIFA for the last 20 or 30 years?
How is a government bribing a FIFA voter in hopes of getting the World Cup is any worse than politicians in San Diego bribing the Chargers owner with the promise of a half billion dollars to build a stadium that will keep the NFL in town?
And where is the media scrutiny, much less outrage?
Spare me the outrage and shock over the corruption in soccer’s governing body.
The money being used to grease the palms of the slimy bureaucrats who control soccer worldwide is peanuts compared to what’s been given, and will continue to be given, to the owners of NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL owners in America.
Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com