A House Democrat has proposed legislation that would strip the National Football League of its tax-exempt status as long as it continues to promote its Maryland-based franchise known as the Washington Redskins.
The bill from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) is the latest attack against the team, which Democrats say is using a racial slur.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made an initial ruling that the team can't trademark its own name because it's racially insensitive. While it will likely take years to appeal that ruling, Norton said the Redskins should be stopped from using its name immediately.
"Continued use of the current team name and mascot is not only inconsistent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decision, but what's even worse is that U.S. taxpayers must bear the burden of subsidizing a multibillion-dollar industry and its use of a racial slur for profit," she said Monday.
The bill attempts to attack the Redskins indirectly, by going after the tax-exempt status of the NFL. That status has also been criticized separately by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who say the NFL is clearly a for-profit entity.
While NFL teams pay taxes, the league office does not.
Opposition to the Redskins name has prompted some media outlets not to use the team name. Norton noted that some Federal Communications Commission members have said they oppose the name, and said she has asked the FCC to prevent anyone from naming the team during a broadcast.
"Over 300 tribes and two million Native Americans, as well as religious and human rights organizations, have called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Daniel Snyder, the Washington football team owner, to change the name of the Washington football team because the name and mascot insult native people," Norton said in a statement introducing her bill.
"Relief from taxes should no longer be given to a league that profits from the continued use of a racial slur, which degrades some Americans," she said.