A handful of members from the St. Paul Federation of Teachers gathered outside the Minneapolis Hilton on Wednesday to decry corporate spending on Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Nick Faber, president of the federation, said schools go begging for money while corporations help pay for the Super Bowl. MOVED UP The Super Bowl Host Committee announced last week that it had privately raised more than $50 million toward the cost of the event.
Poor and minority kids disproportionately bear the burden of underfunded schools, he said.
He and a few others stood in the cold outside the hotel before a luncheon gathering of hundreds of the state’s highest level business leaders at the Economic Club of Minnesota.
Richard Davis of U.S. Bank and Doug Baker of Ecolab both spoke at the luncheon along with Minnesota Vikings owner Mark Wilf and NFL COO Tod Leiweke, a former president of the Minnesota Wild.
Faber accused corporations of “stealing from our kids” with off-shore tax shelters and Super Bowl donations. He mentioned U.S. Bank and Ecolab who are deeply involved in the Super Bowl effort through Davis and Baker.
After the lunch, Leiweke responded to the teachers’ concerns during a conversation with reporters, saying he was educated in an inadequate school himself and doesn’t believe it’s a tradeoff.
“I’m not somebody who believes it’s not A, B or C but all of the above,” he said. “In today’s day and age, it’s easy to be cynical.”
Leiweke said he had spoken to the teachers after the lunch and plans to meet with them during the Super Bowl to see if there’s any way he can “personally” help.
He also made the point that there will be economic and less tangible benefits from the Super Bowl and other NFL games. “At the heart of the NFL is community and giving,” he said.