Trump says U.S. should change tax law to punish NFL

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is suggesting the United States change its tax laws to punish organizations like the NFL if members are "disrespecting" the national anthem or flag.

A growing number of NFL players have chosen to kneel or sit during the playing of the anthem this season as a way to protest social injustice.

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said, "As most of you know, the NFL gave up its tax exempt status in 2015. The idea that we receive a tax break is not true."

So it's unlikely that Trump's proposal, tweeted in the early hours Tuesday, would change anything.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to league owners in 2015 explaining that the tax-exempt status, which the league had since 1942, was a "distraction" as media and fans often confused the league office with the entire business of the league.

There was a secondary benefit for league executives -- they no longer are obligated to publicly disclose their salaries. The league office in New York was required to disclose its filings because it was classified as a non-profit organization, which it no longer is.