The U.S. Senate is considering taking away the NFL’s tax exempt status. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) isn’t completely on board with the proposal that would change the league’s status as a non-profit under the federal tax code. He says he’s not completely against the idea either.

“Well I think that ought to be part of a larger discussion, and I’m not opposed to looking at it and just asking the basic question: ‘By what right should you be tax exempt?’” Durbin said. “You’re making a lot of money and the people who work for you are making handsome salaries.”


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The NFL, along with the National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association, and the U.S. Tennis Association, are classified as non-profit organizations. The same status doesn’t apply to the National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball.

The non-profit status only applies to the league itself, not its 32 teams. If the league was required to pay taxes, its estimated annual tax bill would be around $10 million.

A bill proposed by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would use that revenue to fund domestic violence programs, in the wake of the controversy caused by the NFL’s handling of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after he punched his then-fiancé. Durbin says the league’s early responses to that incident were “not serious”, but he stopped short of calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign.

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