Despite the NFL’s recent outward pledges to support progressive causes like the Black Lives Matter movement, research by The Athletic found that the league’s political action committee money is overwhelmingly going to Republicans.
PACs are organizations that pool money privately to influence elections or legislation — capped at $5,000 per individual contributor. The NFL has its own PAC, Gridiron, that is overseen by the league’s D.C. office. Owners also make political contributions separate from the PAC.
The Athletic found that this year, Gridiron has made 63 donations to 52 congresspeople, senators and political organizations. Of those contributions, 52 went to Republicans or Republican organizations.
Of 18 donations made since August, Gridiron has just one Democratic contribution, which was $1,000 to Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.).
According to Federal Election Commission filings, since January, Gridiron’s contributions to the GOP total $128,500 and contributions to Democrats total $58,000.
The league PAC, created in 2008, has raised over $855,777.35 through donations from 228 contributors since Jan. 1, 2019.
In addition to the league’s PAC, the NFL Players Association has its own: the NFLPA One Team PAC — the only PAC among sports unions. While the NFLPA sent the majority of its contributions to Democrats, over a third — 11 out of 31 — went to Republicans.
NFLPA 2020 donations total $82,500 — $32,500 of it went to Republicans. The NFLPA PAC has raised $366,675 since Jan. 1, 2019, through 651 donations; The Athletic found that most player donations are for less than $1,000.