Domestic Violence and the NFL

Written on: October 1, 2014

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you believe that the NFL should be held accountable and penalized for its mishandling of numerous cases of domestic violence involving high-profile players, then please sign this petition to the U.S. Senate by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

 The petition to the U.S. Senate reads:
“As a multibillion-dollar corporation, the National Football League should not be considered a non-profit organization. We urge you to support Senator Cory Booker’s Securing Assistance for Victim Empowerment (SAVE) Act to revoke the tax-exempt status of NFL and other professional sports leagues and use the money to fund domestic violence programs.”

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.

Tell the Senate: Support Senator Booker’s SAVE Act to secure assistance for survivors of domestic violence by removing the NFL’s tax-exempt status. Click here to sign the petition.


Thanks for standing up to the NFL.

  1. Bill Targets Pro Sports Leagues’ Tax-Exempt Status, The New York Times, September 16, 2014
  2. Booker Calls for Increased Domestic Violence Prevention Funding by Closing Tax Loopholes for Sports Leagues, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, September 16, 2014
  3. How the NFL makes the most money of any pro sport, CNBC, September 4, 2014
  4. Should the NFL Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status?, Mother Jones, December 16, 2013
  5. Roger Goodell announces changes in NFL to address domestic violence, Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2014

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