WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- On Tuesday, President Donald Trump warned the National Football League to use federal tax law to penalize the players who kneel in protest during the singing of the national anthem.
- The feud between the president and the NFL started when conservative Trump accused the players of disrespecting the national flag.
- The president also lashed on Jemele Hill after the “SportsCenter” host on ESPN called Trump a white supremacist.
President Trump told Congress to eradicate a law that permits the NFL central office to not pay taxes as a nonprofit body. His sentiment was once again posted on Twitter.
“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” he wrote.
The president has constantly attacked the NFL due to the players’ protests. The league’s tax break applies only to the central office. But in 2015, the office willingly gave up its tax exemption. The money-making teams are already paying taxes as for-profit organizations.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was just making a point and not a proposal.
“I think he’s just making the point that if these individuals are going to be supported in large part and subsidized by taxpayers, that a large percentage and majority of Americans have said that they want N.F.L. players to stand. The federal tax law doesn’t apply here but certainly we know that they receive tax subsidies on a variety of different levels,” Sanders said.
President Trump thrashed ESPN’s Jemele Hill once again by tweeting, “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”
Hill was suspended on Monday for urging fans to boycott the Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers after team owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench players who knelt during the national anthem.
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said the league has no “massive” tax breaks. On the player protests, Lockhart said the league’s game operations manual has not changed. He emphasized the exact rule governing the anthem. He said the players “must” be on the sidelines during the playing of the anthem and “should” stand for the anthem. However, NFL did not impose any disciplinary action on players who have not stood for the anthem.
Team owners will meet in New York next week and the anthem protests will be on the agenda. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the team owners encourage the players to stand “because we think it’s an important part of the game.” Lockhart said, “there’s a strong feeling at every level that we ought to be getting back to football.”