Even before its feud over the national anthem with President Trump, the NFL Players Association wasn’t on the same political team as many of its fans, judging from its contributions to leftist advocacy groups.
Tax documents released by 2ndVote show the NFLPA donated $5,000 in 2015 to the Center for Community Change Action, a group active in the anti-Trump resistance and bankrolled by a host of liberal foundations, including top Democratic donor George Soros’s Foundation for Open Society.
A member of the AFL-CIO, the NFLPA also contributed in 2013 and 2015 to Working America, the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate, which Open Secrets said spent $1 million in 2016 to defeat Trump.
Working America has since mobilized against the Republican tax-cut framework, denouncing it as the “Trump tax scam.”
The NFLPA contributed $5,000 in 2014 to Jobs with Justice, another pro-union group backed by Soros, and $5,000 in 2013 to the progressive Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.
The NFLPA donations from 2013, 2014 and 2015 were made before Mr. Trump was elected.
Other NFLPA charitable contributions went to a mix of groups supporting veterans, medical research and youth, including the Wounded Warrior Project, the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, Active Minds, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.
The Center for Community Change, whose 2015 annual report lists Planned Parenthood as a donor, plans to honor Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer at its Oct. 12 awards dinner recognizing “heroes on the front lines of resistance.”
The CCCA has also received millions from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Ford Foundation, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“Clearly, ‘social activism’ by NFL players includes aligning with George Soros and other liberal organizations like Planned Parenthood in support of the left’s agenda,” said 2ndVote, a conservative watchdog group.
The NFLPA issued a statement in support of players who have protested racial injustice by sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem after Trump suggested in a Sept. 22 speech that team owners should fire those who refuse to stand.
NFLPA president Eric Winston said he was “extremely disappointed” in the president’s remarks.
“The comments were a slap in the face to the civil rights heroes of the past and present, soldiers who have spilled blood in countless wars to uphold the values of this great nation and American people of all races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations who seek civil progress as a means to make this country, and this world, a better place,” said Winston in a Sept. 23 statement.
An estimated 200 players sat or knelt during the national anthem the following weekend, while only about 50 did so last weekend.
In a joint statement, the NFL and NFLPA said they met Tuesday to discuss “the important issue of social activism by NFL players,” but 2ndVote urged them to call a halt to the political advocacy.
“With television audiences declining every week and fans growing increasingly tired of the disrespect of the flag, the league and the players’ union would find it in their best interest to end the liberal activism and focus on football,” said 2ndVote. “After all, millions are finding it in their best interest not to watch the NFL at all.”
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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