Illegal immigration: Too hot for the NFL

Did concerns about future expansion in Latin America lead the NFL to refuse to run a recruitment ad for the Border Patrol during the Super Bowl?

Published February 14, 2007 8:37PM (EST)

The Moonie-owned, right-wing propaganda attack dog impostor of a newspaper that styles itself the Washington Times actually broke some news today: The NFL refused to run a recruitment ad for the U.S. Border Patrol during the Super Bowl.

The advertisement's references to immigration and terrorism were too "controversial," said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

But such considerations did not dissuade the NBA All Star Game, the NCAA Final Four, and, perhaps the most respected and influential of all sports media outlets, Pro BullRider magazine, from agreeing to run the ad, according to a Border Patrol spokesperson.

Imagine that, those NFL tough guys getting shown up by professional bull riders! That's gotta hurt worse than a 340-pound defensive tackle stomping on your abdomen.

But even more ouchy is the hurtful, hurtful accusation by T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, that the NFL's decision to reject the ad "appeared to be an attempt to try to avoid upsetting the emerging market of football fans in Latin America."

It's not often that you hear the NFL pilloried for being unpatriotic. So you have to cherish the rare occasions on which it does happen. And it is true, the NFL has big plans for global conquest. In October 2005, 103,467 people attended an NFL game in Mexico City. As the New York Times reported a week ago, building a Hispanic fan base (which has proved more difficult within the U.S. than without) is a high priority. And what more evidence do you need than the words of the commissioner of the NFL himself? In a speech at Georgetown University in 2004, Paul Tagliabue went so far as to say that one of the primary issues for the future of the NFL "concerns international expansion because I expect that the future of all sports will be tightly intertwined with globalization."

Tagliabue went on to declare:

We need to adapt to the changing role of America in the world. In his recent book, "Soft Power," Joseph Nye argues that a key source of Americab

The NFL is the ultimate sports corporation, and we all know that corporations lust after open borders so they can exploit cheap labor at home and abroad. So there is some synergy at work here. But I consulted with Salon's own arbiter of all things sporting, King Kaufman, and we agreed that when the NFL rejects something because it is "controversial," it is safe to take the organization at its word. Unless it involves erections that might last for 16 hours (call a doctor!) or gay-bashing, the NFL is going to say "no mas!" The NFL treats anything that has any kind of political content with more caution than a professional bull rider eyes a rabid bull with human gore dripping from his horns. They don't call it the "No Fun League" for nothing.

So while part of me desperately wants to shout from the mountaintop that the NFL is run by open-borders one-worlders who will turn a blind eye to illegal immigration because they want a whole continent of Catholics shouting Hail Mary in Spanish every time Peyton Manning goes back to throw a bomb on the last play of a close game, I'm just going to have to sigh, and say, no, not this time.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Globalization How The World Works Immigration Immigration Reform Peyton Manning Super Bowl