The United States Patent and Trademark Office in a 2-1 vote cancelled the Redskins trademark because it was “disparaging to Native Americans.” Does this mean the name is about to change?
Unlike in 2003, when the Redskins won an appeal on a similar ruling, there are bigger and badder voices involved so this won’t go away quietly. Then again, owner Daniel Snyder refuses to change his team’s name because of “tradition.” The decision however will not take effect immediately. The Redskins will remain the Redskins during Snyder’s official appeal.
“Tradition”, now that is a funny word. Was it a tradition to land on Plymouth Rock, have Thanksgiving dinner with the Native Americans then all of a sudden kick them out of their own home, make them build casinos on the reservation, butter our toast with Land O’ Lakes Butter , jump into our Jeep Cherokee and ride off into the sunset? Ehhh….
Are we still going to base our “traditions” on racial slurs? As a country that has embraced racism in the past on more than one occasion, it seems a bit of a set back. Yes, it would bit of a set back to change a company’s name and logo that has in place for more than 75 years. But it would be MORE of a set back to have a company name and logo that perpetuates a racist stereotype that our country would like to not necessarily forget but to shelve. How about the Blackfaces, catchy right?
The only way this is going to go away is if the Washington Redskins drop the name voluntarily. It could happen. It’s just going to be a very very VERY long time. But if that does happen then we can kiss goodbye to the Atlanta Braves, Florida State Seminoles, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Indians, Golden State Warriors and Chicago Blackhawks.
In the Washington Redskins defense, there is a quite collection of team names that derive from Native American culture. It should be said that naming a sports team after a Native American tribe and/or name can be seen as an act of honor and remembrance. Despite the bloodshed and struggle Native Americans underwent, various sports owners came together and chose to celebrate those individuals engrained in our history. However, changing every team name that people find racially offensive is just bananas. BUT, talking about the color of a culture’s “skin” makes it a whole new ballgame.
The intentions of naming the team the Redskins were pure but we have realized that the execution is in poor manner and a change needs to take place. In reality, there is always a downside. And the downside is the $$. After all, football is a business.
The Redskins organization will lose a significant portion of its ability to protect its financial interests, meaning if others wanted to print and sell the name and logo sweatshirts, hats or other apparel, it will be hard to go after them legally.
And that’s bad business for the NFL as a whole! Merchandise sales are shared 31 ways (every team in the league except for Dallas since they think they’re better than everyone) so if the Redskins lose money, they ALL lose money!
Does that mean Jerry Jones to the rescue?