Sen. Maria Cantwell today revealed plans to revoke the NFL’s tax-exempt status

Sen. Maria Cantwell today revealed plans to revoke the NFL’s tax-exempt status

Sen. Maria Cantwell today revealed plans to revoke the NFL’s tax-exempt status unless league owners step up and convince the Washington Redskins to change the team’s name.

“The NFL needs to join the rest of Americans in the 21st century,” the state’s junior senator said on Tuesday. “It is about right and wrong.”

Cantwell, reports The Washington Post

, was joined by Native American chiefs for the announcement, part of a larger campaign to get the Washington football team to shed the Redskins moniker, which many consider offensive.

The group, Change the Mascot, which includes the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation, is calling on the owners of the 31 other NFL teams to force Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s moniker.

Dan Snyder has refused to go along with a name change, arguing that it is a term of honor and respect.

In May, Cantwell was one of 50 senators who dispatched a letter to Snyder urging him to change the team’s name. In an unusual move in June, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled six of the team’s trademark registrations because its name was offensive. Snyder is appealing that ruling.

Cantwell isn’t the only lawmaker who is going after the NFL’s tax-exempt status. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also recently introducted a bill that would prevent all professional sports leagues from claiming non-profit tax exemptions. The revenue generated from Booker’s bill would be used to fund state programs for domestic abuse, an issue that the NFL has been criticized for mishandling recently in the cases or Ray Rice and Greg Hardy.

The NFL generates about $10 billion in annual revenue, and remains a powerful presence in political Washington. It spends millions on lobbyists and its officials. The league’s political action committee donated more than $1.4 million to lawmakers during the past two election cycles, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

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