Associated Press

Two Congressional Leaders Challenge NFL Tax-exempt Status in Name-change Debate


Banzhaf, who is helping to prepare the appropriate legal challenges against the league said that to revoke its “privileged status” forces the NFL to pay the same taxes that many other large organizations now pay. Cole and Cantwell agreed, saying that it was “not appropriate” for a multibillion dollar 501(c)(6)tax-exempt organization to profit from the degradation of Native people.

The issue of revoking the NFL's tax-exempt status has been in the news recently. Bloomberg reported that almost three-fourths of Americans surveyed want the NFL's tax-exempt status revoked.

Tom Cole (R-OK) Associated Press

“[It’s] a figure which is likely to grow even higher as more and more taxpayers become aware that Congress has awarded the league tax-exempt status,” Banzhaf wrote in a news release. “Equally serious is a challenge the ‘Redskins’ team and the NFL may soon face if the FCC, as expected, takes action on requests by a former FCC Chairman, several former FCC commissioners, and a wide variety of public interest broadcast law experts.”  

RELATED Former FCC Chairman to Dan Snyder: Change Your Team's Name

In his response to Cole and Cantwell’s letter to Goodell, Ray Halbritter, CEO and Representative of the Oneida Indian Nation, praised their “immediate action to prevent the league from using any more public resources to promote hatred against Native Americans."

"While the Washington team somehow claims that Congress has better things to do than intervene in a serious issue that involves taxpayer dollars, it is the exact opposite: Congress has a responsibility to the American people to put an end to this kind of taxpayer-subsidized bigotry,” Halbritter wrote in a press release. “We are thrilled to have these congressional leaders from both parties speaking out on behalf of the ‘Change the Mascot’ campaign.”

The full text of Senator Cantwell and Representative Cole’s letter follows:


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Who would have thunk that the one thing a Democrat and a Republican could agree on was that Redskins isn't honoring us.