This may be the beginning of the end for the Washington Redskins as we know them.
The Washington Post reports that Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, will introduce legislation to eliminate the NFL's tax-exempt status "because of its refusal to address the name of the Washington Redskins."
"The NFL needs to join the rest of Americans in the 21st century," Cantwell said Tuesday. "It is about right and wrong."
According to The Washington Post, "Cantwell made her remarks at a press conference called by a coalition of Native American and social justice groups ... leading the campaign [against the Redskins’ name]." The Post reports that the group is calling on the owners of the 31 other NFL teams to force fellow owner Dan Snyder to change the team's name.
In February, Cantwell and Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell demanding that he publicly announce support for a name change and threaten to revoke the league's tax-exempt status: "The National Football League can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur." Cantwell told reporters the Indian Affairs Committee would "definitely" examine the NFL's tax-exempt status as a means to apply pressure.
Change the Mascot announced that they plan on sending a letter to NFL owners arguing that league bylaws enable them to punish any owner or part-owner who is "guilty of conduct detrimental" to the sport.
"Clearly, Washington team owner Dan Snyder's continued promotion of this racial slur represents such conduct," the letter reads. "Put simply, Mr. Snyder is jeopardizing the welfare of the league by promoting an epithet against people of color."
The move reflects a growing antipathy toward the NFL's $10 billion-a-year enterprise, perceived by many as insensitive on social issues. The league is currently under intense scrutiny for its handling of domestic violence cases against Ray Rice, along with child abuse charges against Adrian Peterson. Perhaps applying some serious financial pressure on the NFL will finally be enough to make real change happen.
h/t The Washington Post
Editors Note: Mar. 3, 2015
An earlier version of this article cited The Washington Post's reporting, but did not include quotations around the cited passage. The story has been updated to fully attribute the The Washington Post's language.