A group of Democratic senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would revoke the NFL’s tax-exempt status if it continues to back the Washington Redskins name.
“It is not right that the National Football League continues to denigrate an entire population,” said the bill’s co-sponsor and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a statement. “I wish Roger Goodell and the NFL’s leadership team would take a stand. As the past few weeks have illustrated, the problems within the NFL are far and wide. Today we are taking action and I gladly stand with Senator [Maria] Cantwell in calling for the end of NFL’s not-for-profit status.”
The bill, which was also introduced by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), makes good on Cantwell’s promise Tuesday when she announced her proposal on Capitol Hill in a press conference surrounded by a group of Native Americans, including representatives of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Oneida Indian Nation.
Those groups have launched their own vigorous anti-Redskins campaign, having announced earlier this week that they are sending letters to the 31 other NFL owners asking them to force Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the name. The coalition of Native Americans and other social justice groups argue that league bylaws enable the owners to punish any other owner who is guilty of “conduct detrimental to the sport.”
Cantwell’s bill is one of the latest proposals to end the NFL’s longtime status as a 501 (c) (6) non-profit, and serves as a potential punishment to a league that has come under attack for the way it’s handled multiple domestic violence cases involving its players. According to Cantwell’s office, since the bill is targeted only at sports leagues that promote the Redskins, the legislation would not impact the National Hockey League or the Professional Golfers Association.