The “no criticism” language in the Packers’ stock offering hasn’t been enforced against a shareholder (yet)

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The Packers’ latest stock offering includes broad language that prohibits every shareholder from criticizing any NFL team, the management of any NFL team, the employees or coaches of any NFL team, or any football officials employed by the NFL. Punishment for a violation includes, according to the document, a fine from the Commissioner of up to $500,000, along with a requirement that the shareholder sell his or her stock.

Given that the stock purchase constitutes a $300 donation that comes with a piece of paper (along with a $35 handling fee), it seems odd that the gift would have such a potentially expensive string attached to it. So we asked the Packers why the language is in the offering document, whether it has been in prior offering documents, and whether the provision ever has been enforced.

According to the team, it’s included in the document because it’s standard language that applies to all NFL owners, whether the owners are actual owners or simply fans who have decide to pay $300 for the privilege of telling themselves that they are owners, even if they ultimately own a minuscule portion of the team — and even if that ownership stake can’t be sold.

The language has appeared in the most recent two offerings prior to this one, in 1997 and 2011. The language has never been enforced as to any Packers owner.

Although it’s highly unlikely that the Commissioner would ever take action against a Packers shareholder beyond rescinding his or her shares, the language remains in the document. The league has the contractual power to enforce the language, if the league decides to do so.

And if the league was ever going to try to do it, it would try to do it to a known agitator who bought the stock fully aware of the obligations and consequences. So, yeah, I’ll probably still buy a share.

5 responses to “The “no criticism” language in the Packers’ stock offering hasn’t been enforced against a shareholder (yet)

  1. So let me see if i get this – I can buy a phoney piece of stock that include a requirement that resticts my right of free speach. Wow, just wow. It really underscores that old saying – a fool and his money…..

  2. Can an owner of stock in the Packers go to league meetings?? Seriously, if you are an owner and subject to owner type language, what is the offset.

  3. You spend 250 bucks on a ticket to the game, 40 dollars on parking, 16 dollars on a burger and fries and 7 dollars on a beer. You’re going to complain about fans using the same amount of money to buy a piece of memorabilia that no other NFL team can offer? They know what they’re doing.

  4. “You spend 250 bucks on a ticket to the game, 40 dollars on parking, 16 dollars on a burger and fries and 7 dollars on a beer. You’re going to complain about fans using the same amount of money to buy a piece of memorabilia that no other NFL team can offer? They know what they’re doing.”

    You just explained why fans DON’T know what they’re doing with their money if they are doing what you wrote.

  5. It’s no big deal if a cheeser wants to waste their money on a worthless piece of paper, but agreeing to a behavioral restriction as a condition to paying a ridiculous price for that worthless piece of paper is pretty funny.

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