Football fans across America have witnessed a degree of controversy before each game this season. The reason for this is simple. A certain number of NFL players have decided to take a knee during the national anthem before each game.
This protest started as a response to police brutality. However, the action has now come to symbolize many different things. For example, after President Trump expressed anger over players taking a knee, some players knelt to show support for their teammates. Other people took a knee to show how great their country is to allow them the right to take a knee. In truth, it’s getting hard to keep track of the meaning of it all.
Notwithstanding the haziness of intent behind the kneeling, President Trump has continued to express his displeasure. On October 10, President Trump stated he would use federal tax law to penalize National Football League players who take a knee during the national anthem. While spokespeople from the White House said President Trump was only trying to make a point, there are teeth in the threat. For years, people have criticized the National Football League’s central office’s status as a nonprofit. This status allows the front office to avoid paying taxes. Trump’s threat would change that.
To support his point, Trump took to Twitter. On the social media platform, he wrote, “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag, and Country? Change tax law!” Unfortunately for President Trump’s ambitions, changing the tax law isn’t that simple.
Congress would need to back President Trump’s plan to revoke the nonprofit status enjoyed by the National Football League’s front office. This is a long and tedious process, and it would surely be dragged out longer than the current football season. The process of revoking the nonprofit status of the NFL might also open up a variety of other organizations, some organizations Republicans in Congress would be hesitant to antagonize, to scrutiny. In other words, the NFL losing their nonprofit status would take time and might force other organizations to shed their own.
It light of the above reasons, it is unlikely anything will be done. However, Trump’s threat certainly does provide a degree of escalation over the actions of a few football players each Sunday. It will be interesting to see if this recent threat again increases the number of protesting players.