President Donald Trump wanted to use tax reform to go after the National Football League (NFL), according to a report from the Washington Post.
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During last year’s football season, when the national anthem protests reached a fever pitch, the president asked for ideas to “punish” the league, the Post reported, citing White House and Capitol Hill aides.
One administration official noted, however, that the president was “venting” and his ideas were never implemented.
In October, the president tweeted that the NFL was getting “massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our” country and that the laws should be changed.
The NFL gave up its tax-exempt status in 2015.
One way lawmakers could have potentially harmed the NFL, and other professional sports teams, is by closing a loophole that allows professional sports franchises to use tax-exempt bonds for the construction of their stadiums.
Another way the tax code could have been used to hurt the NFL is to go after its broadcast antitrust exemption, which allows leagues – not just the NFL – to bundle all their franchises into a package and sell broadcast rights to networks, raking in billions of dollars.
Late Monday the president rescinded an invite to the White House for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, citing national anthem protests. Multiple players had also said they would not attend the ceremony.
“The Philadelphia Eagles … disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem,” the White House said in a statement. “The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”
The White House instead will host a “celebration of America” event.