After another week of scandals, the NFL is hit with an old request that may be a much easier to handle. Time reported on Tuesday, Sept. 16, that Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., will be introducing legislation that will put an end to the NFL’s tax-exempt status which the league has been enjoying since 1966.
Cantwell made the announcement at a press conference held by the group, Change the Mascot at Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Simply put, Cantwell is proposing this bill because the NFL has yet to act on the request to have owner, Dan Snyder, change the Washington Redskins’ name.
Cantell who is a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs said, “The NFL needs join the rest of America in the 21st century. We can no longer tolerate this attitude towards Native Americans. This is not about team tradition; it is about right and wrong.”
Change the Mascot campaign, which was set in motion a year ago, sent a letter to all NFL team owners asking that they join in the fight against the racial slur, “redskins”. In the letter, signed by Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation and Brian Cladoosby of NCAI, the group points out that the league has the privilege of being a tax-exempt organization, and with that comes certain responsibilities. Said responsibilities include standing up against prejudice. They go on to use the letter to ask that owners use their authority to right this wrong.
Part of the letter reads, “The NFL’s continued promotion of this racial slur is not just about one particular team. The league is promoting this racial slur with the resources of every team, including yours, which makes it a league-wide crisis.” The end of the letter takes note that this is an easy issue to mend.
The league is very profitable, but remains a non-profit organization. Cantwell isn’t the only one who wants to see the tax-exempt status revoked. Although not for the same reason, Senator Tom Coburn, R-OK, introduced the bill, PRO Sports Act (S. 1524) last year that would remove the league from the tax exempt list. Unfortunately it didn’t go far.
In the letter it is noted that most Washington fans are not in support of keeping the name, and neither are many others. The Washington spokesman Tony Wyllie on the other hand said,”Our position remains consistent with more than 80 percent of Americans who do not want to change the Washington Redskins name.”
Either way Snyder doesn’t seem to be bothered by efforts to change the name. The Washington owner maintains that the name is not a slur, but rather is meant to honor Native Americans instead. Recently the Redskins trademarks were stripped by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office due to its offensive nature. Snyder is appealing the decision.
For more on Change the Mascot visit their website here.