Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced legislation Sept. 16 which would remove tax-exempt status from the head offices of the National Football League and other professional sports leagues, and redirect funds to support domestic violence programs.
Booker’s legislation comes amid a growing furor over the handling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse incident earlier this year by the league, Commissioner Roger Goodell, and the Baltimore Ravens organization. According to The Newark Star-Ledger, Booker’s bill is one of two current efforts to remove the exemption; a bill introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) seeks the same penalty for the league’s inaction in forcing the Washington franchise to change its “Redskins” nickname.
In a statement announcing his bill, Booker stopped short of specifically citing the NFL’s handling of the Rice case. His measure targets a total of nine pro sports organizations, and by removing the exemptions would pump $100 million into domestic violence programs, according to Politico.
“Stopping domestic violence is a national priority that requires long-term, meaningful investment,” Booker said in the statement. “This common-sense update to our tax laws would save more than $100 million over 10 years—money that can instead be used to pay for vital support programs that have seen their funding slashed in recent years due to sequestration and gridlock.”
While NFL teams are not exempt from tax obligations under federal tax code, the league’s central offices are funded by dues from the 32 franchises as a non-profit organization, The New York Times reported, a status the league has held since the 1960s. According to the Times, Booker’s bill is not likely to gain widespread support in the Senate