Senators Fight for NFL Game Coverage

9 years 7 months 2 weeks ago February 06, 2007 Feb 6, 2007 Tuesday, February 06 2007 Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:21:42 PM CST in News

And he isn't alone. Every Sunday, millions of Americans tune-in to watch their favorite pros. But this season they have only been able to watch what the NFL says they can watch.

"The NFL requires the local media to use the NFL's clips, the content that the NFL chooses, not the content that the media outlet chooses," said Sen. Matt Bartle of Kansas City.

Last march, NFL owners voted 32-0 barring local TV cameras from being on the sidelines. Leaving the NFL to decide what will and will not be seen, an issue Bartle says begs some serious constitutional questions.

"I believe it does affect first amendment rights," Bartle said.

The Constitution isn't the only thing in question. The NFL is using taxpayer funded stadiums, and not giving them the local media.

"The teams in most settings do not own the stadiums, the stadiums were built by the taxpayers, it's a public entity," said Sen. Victor Callahan, also of Kansas City.

Bartle and Callahan say action has to be taken now, before football is taken away from viewers.

"They see it as a problem because they see what's coming, they understand that this is only the beginning, and we need to stop it right now," said Bartle.

KOMU contacted both the Chiefs and the Rams, and both declined to comment. If the bill passes, Missouri would be the first state to enact such a bill. Bartle says if changes aren't made soon, he sees the NFL going to an all pay-per-view coverage style, similar to the way boxing is now. He says America's favorite sport, should be available to all Americans, not just to those who pay to see it.

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