On Tuesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that she will introduce a bill to revoke the NFL’s tax-exempt status because the league allows Washington to use the Redskins nickname.
The NFL has come under fire because of Ray Rice’s domestic abuse incident and child abuse allegations against superstar running back Adrian Peterson. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has tried to eliminate the tax-exempt status of pro-sports league due to concerns over crony capitalism. But Cantwell was more concerned with a “racial slur.”
According to the Washington Post, Cantwell was flanked by “several tribal chiefs” and, without mentioning that a majority of Redskins fans and Americans do not want a name change, said, “The NFL needs to join the rest of Americans in the 21st century… It is about right and wrong.”
The activist Change the Mascot lobbying group helped organize the press conference, which reportedly featured Cantwell, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), “D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), and senior officials from the NAACP. “
The Change the Mascot campaign reportedly sent the NFL a letter arguing that because of the NFL’s tax-exempt status, the league has must ensure that “taxpayer resources are no longer being expended to promote this slur.”
“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 letter reportedly reads.
According to a report in the left-wing ThinkProgress, Cantwell, who had been the Chairwoman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, reportedly organized a December 2013 meeting with NFL officials, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, to discuss a name change. The meeting was reportedly “held off Capitol Hill in part to avoid publicity and facilitate an open dialogue between the participants.”
Cantwell and McCollum have written letters to the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings owner Zygu Wilf, respectively, about the Redskins name. Cantwell has written a letter along with Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) to Goodell asking him to eliminate the Redskins name, which they said is a “racial slur.” Cantwell also joined 50 Senators in a letter to the NFL calling on the league to get rid of the Redskins name.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who has said he will “NEVER” change the team’s name, expressed his support for the embattled Goodell this week.