The NFL is under fire for its mishandling of numerous cases of domestic violence involving high-profile players.
The intense condemnation of America's most powerful professional sports league -- including pressure from tens of thousands of CREDO Action members -- has resulted in renewed focus on the league's tax-exempt status. The NFL, with more than $9 billion in revenue last year, is considered a "non-profit organization" by the IRS and hasn't paid a penny in taxes since 1966.1 It's outrageous.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey has just introduced legislation that would strip the tax-exempt status from the NFL and channel its tax dollars to fund domestic violence programs across the country. Booker's Securing Assistance for Victim Empowerment (SAVE) Act allows us to pressure the NFL where it's vulnerable -- its bottom line -- to ensure the league starts to seriously address the issue of domestic violence by its players.2
The notion that the NFL is some kind of "non-profit organization" is beyond absurd. There is no justification for treating the NFL like a charity when its top executive, Commissioner Roger Goodell, reportedly rakes in a salary of $44 million per year, and when America's top brands pour hundreds of millions of sponsorship dollars into its coffers every year.3
The NFL has employed legions of lobbyists and spent millions in campaign contributions to keep its sizeable taxpayer handout. It has given $2 million in campaign contributions since 1992 and spent $12.7 million lobbying since 1998.4
In stark contrast, the league's investment in preventing domestic violence by its players has clearly been insufficient. While Commissioner Goodell, the man at the center of the controversy, has promised changes in the way the league will handle domestic violence issues, the first tests of the new policy have clearly failed.5 Players implicated in violence against women are being allowed to play while investigations occur, and the league seems much more interested in protecting its brand than making real change.
It's time for Congress to impose real financial consequences for the NFL's failure to enforce its domestic violence policies.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict the outcome of the draft for the dolphins - and pretty much every team in the nfl: