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Senator Sherrod Brown Asks The NFL Ditch Its Blackout Policy

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As originally reported by the USA Today – and brought to our attention through Pro Football Talk – United States Senator Sherrod Brown lambasted the league’s blackout policy on Friday. Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio with a significant constituent base that’s been affected by the NFL blackout policy this year, is urging everyone to get involved, from reasoning with Goodell using sympathy for Ohioans economic plight to the Federal Communications Commissions.

The NFL's blackout policy is unnecessary. The NFL is poised to earn record profits while the Cincinnati taxpayers who built the stadium will be watching reruns rather than touchdown runs. The rule is an outdated relic that doesn't serve the NFL or the fans.

Brown continued:

“The NFL is poised to earn record profits while the Cincinnati taxpayers who built the stadium will be watching reruns rather than touchdown runs,” Brown said.

As a Bengals fan we have to applaud the attempt, especially with Hamilton County residents sporting the bill to purchase the stadium and having no ability to pay over $100 for two tickets and being refused the game on television in the stadium they paid for. We get that Brown could use the issue to inspire votes whenever his time comes for re-election and frankly, we’re bowing out of that argument.

Brian McCarthy, NFL Spokesman, responded:

The blackout policy is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets; keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds; and ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV. Playing in full stadiums with thousands of fans is an important part of what makes NFL football an exciting and special entertainment event, both live and on television. We have a limited number of games and do not want to erode the incentive to buy tickets. Every market receives more than 100 NFL games on free TV every year, regardless of the blackout policy.

One could simply wonder why a United States Senator is making a point about a professional sports’ policy. But really, does anyone in Washington actually do anything with the contentious partisan walls obstructing passage with the long-dead belief that government is actually there to serve its people? And we highly doubt that Brown’s decision to highlight the league’s blackout policy, while they’re in recess, will somehow come at the expense of further economic decay.

This isn’t the first time that Senator Brown argued for the ending of the league’s blackout policy. A month ago to the day, Brown said:

"I'm urging the FCC to take a fresh look at the Sports Blackout Rule and allow fans to watch their home team play on television," Brown said Wednesday. "The taxpayers who built many of these stadiums should have broadcast access to them."

Brown wrote a letter to the NFL Commissioner in early September, 2010:

"While fans cannot wait for the start of the season," wrote Brown, "I am concerned that supporters spanning Ohio's small towns and urban cities will be deprived of the chance to watch the Browns and Bengals compete on television. While I understand the need for the league to sell tickets and maintain an attractive television product, NFL blackout policies should be revisited as our nation faces the worst economic crisis in generations."

And through all of that, we’re fairly certain that there will be more Bengals fan on Bengals fan violence.