Lobbyist Wants Congress to Pass NFL “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law
Jack Burkman is a Washington, D.C. lobbyist who works for industries ranging from energy to banking, in hopes of getting federal government contracts for his clients. The former Fox News analyst also appears periodically on TV promoting the conservative viewpoint. When he can’t get national airtime, he has his own podcast where he expresses his views on various issues including women in combat (“absurd” in his opinion), women in the workforce (“women need to be home with their children”) and gays in the Boys Scouts (“Parents get your sons out of the Boy Scouts!”).
Now he has set his sights on the National Football League.
When University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam publicly came out as a gay, it put Burkman over the edge. The idea that an openly gay man would be playing in the NFL (Michael Sam would be the first openly gay player if drafted this spring) is an issue of “great urgency” because it is the clarion call that society is “sliding in the wrong direction.” For Burkman there is only one solution: Congress must pass a law to stop gay players in the NFL.
As a professional lobbyist, Burkman has kindly taken the liberty of drafting the outline of the bill for the lawmakers.
In a one page draft released to the public last week, Burkman outlined the key points of the proposed bill. The American Decency Act of 2014 (yes, that is what he has titled it) is designed to be more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for the NFL. This is clearly stated at the beginning, which says, “The National Football League and all teams thereof are hereby prohibited from employing self-declared homosexual football players. This prohibition shall only apply in cases where a football player has openly declared himself to be a homosexual.”
In Burkman’s no-gay-player-utopia, the NFL should be legally required to discriminate against its employees. However, he is a Republican and understands that a team might need to employ a gay player (not saying they ever have, of course), for business reasons. Therefore, Section 2 of the bill provides for an exemption for those teams. “The prohibition detailed in article (A) above shall not apply to any team of the National Football League that provides facilities for homosexual players which are entirely separate and distinct from the facilities used by heterosexual players.”
In other words, it also includes a separate but equal clause.
Just in case the NFL, a private business and bastion of liberal thought that actively campaigned against Arizona’s so-called “license to discriminate against gays” law, refuses to abide by the statute, they will be subject to fines. “Each violation of (A) and (B) above shall result in a fine of not less than $3 million not more than $8 million.” The Department of Justice would be tasked with enforcing the law.
While Burkman says that he already has lawmakers interested in presenting the bill and predicts several more will co-sponsor, there is no chance that it would pass. Aside from the obvious constitutional issues, it would not be brought to a vote in the Senate or make it past the president’s desk. So why make the effort?
This could be a well orchestrated attention grabbing scheme to get more clients of the political candidate variety. In addition to being a lobbyist, he describes himself as a “premier political consultant.” He feels that such a bill could help a socially conservative challenger beat out an incumbent in a Republican primary.
Or is this just a quixotic mission of a bigot who believes that only one-percent of the population is gay and actively recruits and trains people to increase their ranks?
When Burkman, a self proclaimed small government Republican, was pressed for why he was pursuing this legislation, especially since the issue in no way affects his clients (one of which has already ended their association with him) he responded, “I felt that if the NFL doesn’t have any morals, and people like [Commissioner] Roger Goodell, who are just go-along-get-along guys, just want to appease advertisers, appease corporate America and all that stuff. I figured, well, it is time for conservatives in Congress to step in and define morality for them.”
This would be a good time to mention that Burkman was listed as a client of the D.C. Madam, a claim that he denies. Besides, he has gay friends…and a gay brother.
His brother, Dr. Jim Burkman, a Seattle anesthesiologist, who admits he and his brother don’t agree on political issues, says: “He is my brother and I love him. But I told him years ago he should back off on gay issues, and if he ever crosses the line I would be happy to speak up as his gay brother. Today I felt he crossed the line.”
He also expressed support in a tweet to Michael Sam, saying his brother “is being an ass.”
Photo credit: Thinkstock