Washington Redskins To Lose Their ‘Racist’ Name
THERE’S been a long debate about the name of the Washington Redskins’ name. The NFL team are famously the redskins, but few outside of America have really considered the meaning.
Think about it. Redskins. And a logo of a Native American. Would you back a team called Bigsville Blackfaces? Or the Metropolis Yellow Peril? Of course you wouldn’t – but in Washington, they’ve got away with it, somehow, even after The Onion went in (and went in very hard, to make a point) on the NFL team.
However, that may all be changing after the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”
This landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans.
“This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Federal trademark law doesn’t permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.”
“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” Alfred Putnam Jr., the chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath, said. “The dedication and professionalism of our attorneys and the determination of our clients have resulted in a milestone victory that will serve as an historic precedent.”
The California-based Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation aired an advertisement during the NBA Finals urging the Washington Redskins to change their name.
However, the Redksins could appeal this verdict and don’t necessarily have to change their name.
This ruling does mean affect whether the team and the NFL can make money from merchandising however and, as we know, in sport, money talks.
What is particularly weird about this situation, is that in the NFL, teams change names, franchises and even the city they play in all the time.
Quite why they want to stick with this name is unfathomable. Hopefully, 2014 is the time when they finally see sense and take out one of the most embarrassing and hurtful names in professional sport.