The National Football League operates as a not-for-profit. That's the league's tax status, which is laughable to anyone.
The NFL makes billions of dollars. It's the most successful sports league in American history, a record it breaks every year. Even with a ton of controversial off-the-field issues in September, television ratings improved once again. It is one of the top businesses in the country. The NFL prints money. It just struck a deal with DirecTV that pays the league $1.5 billion annually, according to ESPN. Commissioner Roger Goodell made $44.2 million last year.
Congress is finally looking into the NFL's tax status, but at least one member of Congress is strangely tying it to the Redskins' name controversy, according to ABC News.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton is cosponsor of the House bill that would cut off the NFL's tax break. She represents the District of Columbia. ABC News said new bills were introduced in recent weeks to take away the not-for-profit designation. Norton said that the NFL might get that cushy tax break yanked … unless it changes the Redskins' name.
"The NFL greed is so widespread that they've chosen to operate as a tax-exempt organization. So we want to take that choice away from them unless, and until, they decide not to profit from a name that has now officially been declared a racial slur," Norton said on the ESPN/ABC podcast "Capital Games," according to ABCNews.com.
Norton was doing perfectly fine, right up to "unless, and until … "
So what exactly is she saying? So the NFL can keep its greedy (her words) and unfair tax break as long as it dumps the Redskins' nickname? It doesn't seem quite right that they'd be allowed to hold onto what Norton deemed wrong as long as they give up something else. How about, "We're going to look into your tax-exempt status because it's entirely unfair?" That seems a little better. Even if this is the only real leverage the government has in the fight over Washington's nickname, these issues are entirely separate.
The NFL shouldn't really be allowed to run as a not-for-profit entity because we all know better. No "unless." No "and until." Just that it should be changed. Stop there. Go to work for the people you represent instead of bribing the NFL to change a team nickname.
According to ABC News, National Journal columnist and veteran political analyst Norm Ornstein spoke on the podcast about the "unhealthy and unholy relationship the NFL has long maintained with Congress." That's probably a fair assessment. American's football culture has caused otherwise smart people to do a lot of dumb things, like pay college football coaches more than $5 million a year while tuition costs are skyrocketing.
So someone in Washington probably should reexamine NFL's tax status, without having to threaten the league that you might take away its tax break if it doesn't change the Redskins name. How about looking into taking it away because of the greed you referenced, Congresswoman?
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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- The National Football League
- Eleanor Holmes Norton