The NFL and the Catholic Church have been fighting for decades over whether the NFL and other professional sports leagues can use charitable status as a tool to benefit their teams.
The NBA, which is headquartered in New York, is the first professional sports league to adopt the policy in recent memory, and it has faced criticism for its policy of not using charity status to benefit its teams.
However, as of Monday, the NFL is no longer using charity to benefit teams.
According to a league spokesman, the league has a long history of helping charities and will continue to do so, despite the policy change.
“The NFL is proud of our charitable mission and has been a leader in helping others throughout our league,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Monday.
“As with all organizations, the charity status is intended to provide opportunities for fans to be involved in charity and make a difference, and our team values this important opportunity to support our community.”
Our charitable programs are rooted in a deep respect for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, and we have always used charity status as an important part of our mission.
“We appreciate the efforts of Catholic charities and faith-based organizations, which help millions in need every year, as well as our league’s charitable partners, who continue to play a vital role in our communities.”
As for how the NFL will continue its charitable programs, the statement did not clarify.
But the NFL’s charitable outreach policy has been the subject of some controversy.
In 2015, the Catholic League of America (CLA), a group of church leaders, launched a campaign to encourage the NFL to end its charitable status, arguing that it was a sign of disrespect toward Catholics.
As part of the campaign, CLA’s leaders urged the NFL not to grant charitable status to any teams that participate in the Super Bowl.
In response, the NHL, which has played in the World Hockey Association since the 1970s, said in 2016 that it would not grant charitable designation to any clubs that participate during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The NHL is the only major professional sports franchise that does not have a charity status, although the NHL has long used the designation in other ways.
In 2016, the New York Catholic League for the Arts and Humanities, an advocacy group for the arts and humanities, filed a lawsuit against the NHL for its policies of not giving charitable status.
The suit alleged that the league’s policy of non-use of charity status violated the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from interfering with the exercise of religion.
The case was dismissed last year.
In a statement to ABC News, the NBA said it does not believe the NFL should use charity status for any purpose, citing “the importance of this important privilege for our teams and players.”
“The NBA is committed to providing our teams with the resources necessary to achieve success, and in the absence of any official decision from the Commissioner of the NFL, we will continue working closely with charities and the league to support their charitable efforts,” the statement said.