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Norton Introduces Bill to Eliminate NFL Tax-Exempt Status

Norton is raring to go against the NFL. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., introduced a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the tax-exempt status for the National Football League, saying it benefits from promoting a "racial slur."  

Norton points to the Washington Redskins name as the reason that the NFL should no longer be exempt from taxes. Her bill already has a Senate counterpart , introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.  

"American taxpayers have been subsidizing a multi-billion dollar league that promotes what has now been officially found to be a racial slur for profitable gain," Norton said in a her introductory statement. "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."  

The bill reignites a congressional fight over the NFL, which picked up steam in September amid domestic violence issues and increasing calls for the District of Columbia football team to change its name. Given the impending end of the 113th Congress, the bill is unlikely to receive much action.  

Norton pointed out that over the summer, the United States Patent and Trademark Office determined the name was offensive and set in motion a process to eliminate federal trademark protections for the football team.  

"While the ruling did not persuade [Redskins owner] Daniel Snyder or [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell to change the name, the ruling has the potential to affect the profits received from the sale of the team’s merchandise," said Norton.  

As the District of Columbia's non-voting delegate, Norton has the power to introduce bills, but she cannot vote on the House floor.  

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