Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced on Tuesday that she plans to introduce legislation that would revoke the NFL’s tax-exempt status unless the league’s owners put pressure on the Washington football team to change the team's name.
According to The Washington Post, Cantwell was joined by Native American chiefs for the announcement, part of a larger campaign to get the Washington football team to change its name, which many consider offensive.
“The NFL needs to join the rest of Americans in the 21st century,” Cantwell said on Tuesday. “It is about right and wrong.”
Washington football team owner Dan Snyder has refused to change the team's name and has argued that it is a term of honor and respect.
In May, Cantwell was one of 50 senators who sent a letter to Snyder urging him to change the team’s name. In an unusual move in June, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled six of the team’s trademark registrations because its name was offensive. Snyder is appealing that ruling.
Cantwell isn't the only lawmaker who is targeting the tax-exempt status of the NFL. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also recently introduced a bill that would prevent all professional sports leagues from claiming non-profit tax exemptions. The revenue generated from Booker's bill would be used to fund state programs for domestic abuse, an issue that the NFL has been criticized for mishandling recently.
Indeed, Congress has threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of the league on numerous occasions, but has never actually done so.