Pop quiz: What's the first thing that springs to mind when you hear the term "nonprofit"?
Most people associate the phrase with good will and philanthropy like feeding the poor, helping children, or fighting disease in far-flung countries. Yet it just so happens that one of the world's largest tax free organizations is in fact the National Football League—the most successful sports franchise on the planet.
A quirk in the law classifies the NFL as tax-exempt to earn nearly $10 billion in revenues each year, while its chief pulls in a $44 million annual salary. But as the league grapples with multiple public relations crises, some say that its status as a non-profit could in fact be the source of its woes.
"We tend to assume that if you're not for profit you must be one of the good guys," said Gregg Easterbrook, an author and sports analyst. "But in many cases the for-profits are the good guys and the not-for-profits are the ones that are getting away with something."
Generally, nonprofits are far less regulated than the average private or publicly traded company. Experts say they are given the benefit of the doubt by regulators and the public alike, and tend to police themselves adequately.