One more quick follow-up this week.
For our report about U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's blitz on the NFL this week, we asked Sen. Cantwell, a populist whose D.C. office has long been decorated with Seattle sports paraphernalia, to address her increasingly visible position as a critic of the populist NFL. Her stance against the NFL is particularly interesting given the 12th Man mania that has taken hold of Washington state. Yet here's Sen. Cantwell taking the Theater Kid side of the Theater Kid vs. Jock Kid divide that's emerging in national politics over the NFL.
After first trying to get the NFL's Washington Redskins to drop their name (Cantwell introduced a bill in September that would deny tax-exempt status to any sports league that uses the Redskins name), Sen. Cantwell leaned into league reps at a senate hearing this week on domestic violence in professional sports leagues.
Citing her camaraderie with both her constituents and with Republicans across the aisle, Cantwell told PubliCola: “I join many Washingtonians who say it’s time to bring an end to the NFL’s tax break. That’s why both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have proposed bills to end the NFL’s non-profit status. This is an important issue to examine as Congress moves towards tax reform.”
Two Democrats, Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Tim Johnson (D-SD), have signed on to Sen. Cantwell's anti-Redskins bill.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) does have a bill end the NFL's tax exempt status, but his bill is not predicated on a culture war issue. Coburn is simply arguing that the hyper commercial league's tax-exempt status isn't legit and they're bilking the government.