Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Voters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (D-Nev.) signed on to legislation Thursday that would remove the nonprofit status of the NFL for promoting the Washington Redskins.
Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellScott says he will block nominees until Biden officials testify on supply chain crisis Airlines staff up for holiday onslaught Manchin set to make or break Biden's climate pledge MORE (D-Wash.) announced the legislation earlier this week.
Reid's voice adds another powerful name to the push to pressure the NFL to force the team to change its name, which many call disparaging to Native Americans. Sen. Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonCornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul Several hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan MORE (D-S.D.) also signed on.
"I wish Roger Goodell and the NFL’s leadership team would take a stand,” Reid said in a statement. “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 Cantwell in calling for the end of NFL’s not-for-profit status.”
Reid and Cantwell spearheaded a letter earlier this year signed by 50 senators that urged Goodell to force a name change for the Redskins.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a broader bill on Tuesday that would strip the nonprofit status of most professional sports leagues and would use the extra revenue to fund domestic violence outreach.
The NFL is facing criticism on multiple fronts in Congress for its handling of the punishment given to former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was suspended indefinitely after video leaked this month showing him punching his now-wife unconscious in February.
Cantwell's proposal is narrowly tailored to only penalized the NFL, not other professional sports leagues. The legislation would remove the nonprofit status of any professional sports league that promotes or is connected with "the use of the term ‘redskins.’"
The NFL avoids tax liabilities by qualifying as a business league under a section of the tax code that also covers trade organizations, real estate boards and chambers of commerce.
— Updated 11:23 a.m.