How Trademark Law Can Finally Kill Dan Snyder's Racist Dreamworld

from the trademark-slurs dept

Before we dig into this, let’s put a couple of facts into evidence. First, Dan Snyder is the owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins football franchise. Next, as we’ve covered before, Dan Snyder is an idiot. In addition, the term “Redskin” is a taboo word, commonly considered offensive and detested by Native American groups that have visited with the team to explain to them that they’d prefer not to be disparaged in such a manner. Now, there is a contingent of strange people in this country that insist that fighting back against an NFL team using the Native American version of “darky” is the height of our overly political correct culture and is a waste of time. If you’re one of those people, I invite you to voice that opinion in the comments section, not because I think your stupid argument has any merit, but rather because I just want to watch you look silly.

That said, the controversy over the team’s name has existed since roughly the time us white folks landed on this land and began helpfully distributing small-pox-ladened blankets to shivering women-folk. So how do we finally get the name changed? As it turns out, the answer just might be trademark law. See, the United States government is a lot of things, and not all of them good, but they sure don’t like to officially sanction racial slurs. Couple that with how important trademarks are to NFL teams and we have a light at the end of this racist tunnel. Per trademark lawyer Christine Haight Farley:

Since 1905 federal trademark law has banned the registration of scandalous or immoral marks. In 1947, marks that may disparage, bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols were also banned. U.S. trademark law is not unique in prohibiting the registration of offensive trademarks. Many other countries’ trademark laws contain similar provisions.

So, the starting point is that you can’t trademark an offensive term. This, for obvious reasons, essentially amounts to the government not wanting to be in the business of hate-speech. Court cases have been brought in the past asserting the Redskins mark to be invalid on these grounds, with a tribunal in 1999 agreeing that the mark should be cancelled. Unfortunately, that ruling was overturned on federal appeal, which asserted that the lawsuit was brought by old people who should have been offended long before they formally stated so (unjustified delay in bringing the suit) while simultaneously stating that they just weren’t quite sure most Native Americans disliked being referred to primarily by their ill-described skin.

However, a younger group of Native Americans has refiled and a ruling is expected fairly soon. If Farley’s analysis is correct, there seems to be only one logical way for the court to rule.

The term used by the Washington football team has been demonstrated by overwhelming linguistic and historical evidence to constitute a disparaging epithet insulting to Native Americans. Many Native American organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Education Association, the Native American Journalists Association, the Native American Rights Fund, the Morning Star Institute, the International Indian Treaty Council, and the National Indian Youth Council, have publicly and vociferously opposed the continued use of the term in trademarks or as the name of sports teams. The director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has said he considers that name to be the most offensive name in current use. The trademark office tribunal was satisfied by survey evidence that showed that 37 percent of the Native Americans surveyed found the word the team uses as their name to be offensive.

Now, while the cancellation of the mark wouldn’t require the team to change its name, or even stop using the epithet in commerce, it might as well. Trademarks on team names, perhaps most-so in for NFL teams, is where a vast amount of team revenue is achieved. If they lose the mark, it would open the commerce door to all manner of groups to use the name in commerce. That isn’t something a team run by Dan Snyder would stand for. In other words, trademark might actually kill off the most offensive team name in sports. As far as I’m concerned, it can’t happen soon enough.

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Comments on “How Trademark Law Can Finally Kill Dan Snyder's Racist Dreamworld”

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I heard the Washington Redskins were
> contemplating a name change that would
> remove “Washington” from their name because
> it was embarrassing.

Good one. And well-deserved, considering what comes out of their namesake city on a regular basis.

However, all this trademark business is silly hoopla over nothing. Even if the lawsuit is successful and the team loses the trademark on the word “Redskins”, they still will have trademark on every other aspect of their logo and merchandising– the Indian-head logo, the team colors combined with the name “Washington” etc.

If “Redskins” goes back to the public domain, other people will be legally allowed to sell merchandise with the name Redskins, but the team will still be the only ones who can legally print “Redskins” on their t-shirts and coffee mugs along with the team colors combined with the name “Washington” and the Indian head logo (to which they will also still have exclusive rights).

The only things Joe Salesman on the street will be able to sell are off-color, no-logo non-team-looking hats and shirts. Who wants to buy that stuff anyway?

I just don’t see this as much of a threat to the team’s revenue stream.

S. T. Stone says:

Re: Re: Re:

Even if Snyder loses the trademark claim (and there?s a strong chance of that happening), can?t he can continue to call his team ?the Washington Redskins? if he wants?

I mean, yeah, he?ll have to do it without owning the trademark on ?Redskins? (and thus eat away at the profits of the NFL?s vast merchandise empire), but can?t he still keep the name?

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

Even if he loses trademark protection he can still profit. He just loses the ability to keep other people from also profiting. Actually that could be an interesting thing to watch. It is possible that having more widespread use of the mark might actually make the brand more valuable.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

Uh no, I don’t, and I’m not sure what dictionary you’re using, but I don’t think anyone else would either.

‘Censorship’ is being prohibited from speaking or expressing yourself, generally by an official like someone representing the government or state, though it can also encompass those using government or state laws to do so. Nowhere in the definition does it say you’re also guaranteed the right to be able to profit on your speech.

Of course the above is rather a moot point, as even without the trademark, the owner of the team is still quite able to profit by selling merchandise with their logo/name, they just wouldn’t be able to keep others from doing the same.

If anything losing the trademark on the name/logo would be the direct opposite of censorship, as people who were previously prohibited from using the name/logo would suddenly be able to do so.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

  1. you generally have great comments, i think you are a little misguided on this one…

    2. dictionary definitions are NOT ‘the’ definition, WE -as a collective group- make the definitions, and the dictionary simply records that AFTER the fact… words mutate and change definitions and connotations all the time…
    (see, “literally”)

    3. although you leave yourself a little wiggle room, i am about tired of people claiming that censorship is only censorship when it is done by official/gummint agencies…
    wrong, wrong wrong: ONE of the major problems we have now, is the SELF-censorship of the lamestream korporate media…

    (of course, we ALL self-censor, don’t we: we don’t call out that loudmouth at the mall saying bizarre tea party idiocy, we don’t bother correcting our brother-in-law at thanksgiving dinner for spouting reichwing -or libtard- received wisdom based on lies, we don’t open our mouths when our boss says some stupid shit, etc, etc, etc…)

    further, i realize this is an outdated concept, but i actually believe in free speech… if dan snyder wants to name HIS team the ‘Washington Niggers, Spics, Kikes, and Wops’, that is his absolute right to do so… presumably, that would lead to many/most of the fans rejecting the team, and the world would go on as it should, snyder goes bankrupt, and team is sold to the gay mafia who proceed to rename them the Washington Rainbows or whatever…
    problem solved…

    …or, Snyder just claims they are now named after redskin peanuts or redskin potatoes or redman chewing tobacco…

    can everyone just chill the fuck out going apeshit over real and perceived marginal injustices ? ? ? EVERYONE is going to be the morality police about stupid shit OTHER people do (excepting THEIR own stupid shit, of course), we got the planet’s ecosystem circling the toilet, we got Empire locking down the last corners of an authoritarian, lawless, fascist society, and we got a system of ‘morality’ based on profit uber alles which is destroying humanity AND the planet, and people prioritize some bullshit insulting sports team name as our number one problem to address…

    that’s swell, we won’t have a planet worth a fuck any longer, but we shamed a stupid rich white guy to change the name of a stupid sports team to the Washington Pussy Riots, or something…

    what ? ? ?
    is there something wrong with that name ? ? ?

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

Offensive at the moment yes, but it could become something else.

Pirates was something intended to be offensive now is a sign of proud.

Big Horn there should get his own and start using the term in a brighter light and transform it into something to be proud not ashamed.

Turn that trash into gold, then there is no need to have the government involved at all.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

really ?
so what ?
you missed my point after all, and -frankly- you, of all people…

IF (and that is a huge, 150 point ‘if’) you believe in free speech, THEN dan snyder/whoever can name THEIR team/product/etc WHATEVER they want to name them, ‘offensive’ or not…

THEN, depending on how truly ‘offensive’ the public finds such names/brands/etc, they will refuse to patronize said offensive brands, and the people who produce them are deemed bigots/asshats, and the planet spins on…

no fascist laws need passing (which WILL be corrupted and turned against you, when the time comes); no zombie mob of screeching banshees need descend upon the transgressor, no hypocritical moralizing by privileged pwogs butthurt-by-proxy need apply…

y’all need to turn your faux-ire up to 11 on more deserving targets and injustices…

how about you actually show some concern for how indians are actually treated on their reservations, rather than the theoretical offenses you suffer on their behalf for the humiliation from being sports mascots…

(as an aside, did not hear the valid query of why MANY similar names/teams/etc are not subject to these ‘rules’, the KC chiefs, etc… have they managed to find the right tribal leaders to bribe to be ‘okay’ with it ? ? ? )

furthermore, if the polls cited by a number of other posters are in fact and in deed correct, it SOUNDS LIKE actual INDIANS don’t have a major problem with it, only slacker-libtard, concern trolling, trust funders who have nothing better to do than have a butthurt-by-proxy-of-the-month club are the ones ‘offended’ by this…

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

“IF (and that is a huge, 150 point ‘if’) you believe in free speech, THEN dan snyder/whoever can name THEIR team/product/etc WHATEVER they want to name them, ‘offensive’ or not…”

Wow, talk about missing the point. I didn’t say the government should pass a law stripping the team of their name. I said the US Government should not be in the business of sanctifying racist terms via trademark. Dan Snyder could also name his team the Washington Flaming Ass-Pounding Faggots. My response wouldn’t be that a law should be passed to keep that from happening, but I damn well would say you don’t allow a trademark on that term. Like I said before, this really isn’t that hard….

“no fascist laws need passing”

Fascist? Groooooaaaaan. Nobody is talking about passing any fucking laws here. We’re talking about applying the law as it’s written. Did you even read the post?

“how about you actually show some concern for how indians are actually treated on their reservations, rather than the theoretical offenses you suffer on their behalf for the humiliation from being sports mascots…”

I’ll thank you for not assuming you know what causes I “actually” support and have supported, and in what way, thank you very much. I’m a secular humanist for Christ’s sake. Real concern for my fellow human beings is my god damn oxygen….

“(as an aside, did not hear the valid query of why MANY similar names/teams/etc are not subject to these ‘rules’, the KC chiefs, etc… have they managed to find the right tribal leaders to bribe to be ‘okay’ with it ? ? ? )”

While there is an obvious difference between the term “Chiefs” and “Redskins” (please tell me I don’t have to explain that to you), I wouldn’t mind if all those depictions went away. The Cleveland Indian logo is particularly offensive, and the Blackhawks logo is downright stupid….

“furthermore, if the polls cited by a number of other posters are in fact and in deed correct, it SOUNDS LIKE actual INDIANS don’t have a major problem with it, only slacker-libtard, concern trolling, trust funders who have nothing better to do than have a butthurt-by-proxy-of-the-month club are the ones ‘offended’ by this…”

Sigh, the commenters above are missing out on the fact the tribal leaders at both a local and nat’l level met with Snyder and the NFL and asked them again to change the name just a few weeks ago. But here’s a fun tip for you: I tend to know exactly what kind of person I’m dealing with when they make sure they let me know that they think “liberal” is a dirty word, or derogatory. That’s how I know I’m dealing with an idiot….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

I didn’t say the government should pass a law stripping the team of their name. I said the US Government should not be in the business of sanctifying racist terms via trademark.

Here’s what you said as swipe:

So how do we finally get the name changed? As it turns out, the answer just might be trademark law.

The name is already trademarked. Move on. There are hundreds of other futile, meaningless pseudo-injustices for you to rail against.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

” I said the US Government should not be in the business of sanctifying racist terms via trademark.”

you might be right, they are in the business of upholding free speech though, and free speech is free speech, you cant support free speech and work against terms of free speech.

The Government sanctifies your right to use any terms, and your opinion to its implications are up to you, not the Government and not trademark law.

Its a slippery slope to have the government accept a morality issue, particularly when there is not even close a consensus that the term is even a racial slur, it appears most do not think so, particularly when only 37% of that group feel it is, and without knowing how the question was framed or who they asked.

“redskins” is not a common slur for native americans, if you ask ANYONE anywhere in the western world “what are the redskins” most would be able to tell you instantly its a sports or football team.

But if you asked the same people what they thought a Nigger is, the answer would surly be different.

Nice long post, a shame you still sound like a PC idiot..

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

I said the US government should not be in
> the business of snactifying racist terms
> via trademark.

So you’ve gone from equating the grant of a trademark with endorsement of that mark to equating the grant of a trademark with sanctification of that mark?


You’re a professional writer. Surely you know what ‘sanctification’ actually means. Don’t you think you’re overstating things a tad here?

No matter how you want to spin it, the grant of a trademark is merely a government grant to the holder of the mark to its exclusive use in commerce. It brings with it no official endorsement, support, approval, or sanctification by the government of the mark, the business behind it, or the products of the business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

Redskin is NOT offensive when it is referring to a football team, it is not a racial slur as it is NOT DIRECTED AT A RACE, it is the name of a football team.

I can say I hate the Redskins, and everyone will KNOW I am referring to a football team, but if I can “I hate the nigger’s” everyone will know I am referring to an ethnic group.

If you cannot see the difference, you are the person with the problem, not everyone else.

The New Zealand “ALL BLACKS” football team, is that referring to the color of their skin, or the color of the clothes they were ?

It’s the name of a team not a slur on a race !!

If it was racist, I am sure your anti-racist laws would be better suited to this, not TRADEMARK for censorship..

You honestly cannot tell the difference between a name and a racist slur ?

if you don’t know, a racist slur is a term used to denigrate a particular group, and is used in that context.

Redskins football team is a name NOT used in the context of a racist slur, it does not denigrate what it describes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

people also use the term “I love you baby” as a term of endearment too, but you don’t see them trademarking that either !!!.

And I would still love to see you in a mainly African american neighbourhood and call some people that name.

Then watch the medics come and work on your for awhile afterwards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

what !!!!..

that is the stupidest argument ever !!!

so it’s not about the term, it’s not about racism, its about profit, am I getting it right ????

You think he’s profiting from the use of a term, so you say you don’t like the term, so you can use it to make your own profit ?

So would you not want to reduce the amount that term is used, and not increase it?

Seems you are upset because your not getting a cut of the profit, more than you are upset that ‘some’ people might find it offensive, (probably not you though).

This entire article is a fabrication of an idiot, and the intent has nothing to do with race, it has to do with who’s making money, and you think you should be able to use that term too to make money, even if you think it is offensive !!!

Its offensive so use it more !!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

No, speaking is a natural act it doesn’t depend on payment to happen, thus is not essential to protect payment exclusive payment to one person or entity from happening thus not censorship.

Plus I wonder where the part “not allowed to profit from your speech” comes from since I can’t find in the law anything about you not being able to get paid at all if you lose your trademarks or even copyright on your own speech.

Geezuz F. Christ a carpenter had no such monopoly privileges and I am sure he still got paid for his work despite other carpenters trying their best to best him.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

This is so ass backwards. Trademark does exactly what you’re claiming not being trademarked does, it precludes others from trading under the name or, how did you put it? “Profiting from speech.” Not granting it doesn’t change anything for the holder, it changes things for everyone else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

It is not as related to censorship as you think. An equivalent would be removing copyright from an item. It may be legal blackmail, though.

It is not trademark being used. It is an exception to trademark law being used! That is a pretty significant distinction.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response to: Steve Gaucher on Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

But it’s RAYCISM! If I keep repeating it enough, it makes it okay!

Racistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracistracist racist racism racists

Do you agree with my point yet?



S. T. Stone says:

Last I hear, the NFL has a unique trademark situation in that all of the teams share in merchandise revenue generated from the sale of items bearing those trademarks (jerseys, helmets, what have you).

The overturning of the ?Redskins? trademark would mean anyone could sell ?Redskins?-themed apparel without going through either the team or the league as a whole, and that would hit the revenue stream of the entire NFL pretty damn hard.

The NFL and other team others have pressured Snyder to change the team name in order to keep this from happening, but Snyder?s refused because he?s a stubborn idiot who thinks he knows better than?well, the people slandered by his team?s name.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The overturning of the ‘Redskins’ trademark
> would mean anyone could sell ‘Redskins’-themed
> appareal.

No, it actually doesn’t mean that. The team would only lose the exclusive rights to the word “Redskins”. They’d still have valid trademarks on the team colors and the Indian-head logo and combination of those with the word “Washington”. That means they’d still be the only ones who could sell stuff that says “Redskins” combined with any (or all) of those other elements.

The guy on the street looking to cash in could now legally sell t-shirts that say Redskins, but he can’t sell red-and-gold t-shirts with the Indian-head logo on them that say “Redskins”. What fan would want to buy a blue or green or brown t-shirt with just the word “Redskins” on it?

This isn’t as much of a threat to the team or NFL merchandising revenue as the proponents want to make it out to be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think it has to be registered to enforce it. But providing evidence of an unregistered trademark claim does have validity when defending it. If you get sued by someone claiming that you are infringing on their registered trademark but can show that you have been claiming the mark and doing business under that mark prior to the plaintiff’s use of the mark, your claims have some validity. Sure a registered mark is stronger than an unregistered one but I wouldn’t say that an unregistered mark isn’t valid.

Anonymous Trademark Lawyer says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Trademarks do not have to be registered. You do not have to have a registration to enforce a trademark. Registration is recognition of existing rights, it does not grant rights.

And no, having a registration doesn’t insulate you from someone else claiming you infringe their trademark.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Actually, it looks like you might indeed have to register it to take any legal action related to it. Two of the ‘perks’ of registering a trademark on that page are:

-a legal presumption of the registrant’s ownership of the mark and the registrant’s exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration;

-the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;

So you can ‘claim’ a trademark without registering it based upon proof of you having used it for long enough, but you cannot claim exclusive use of it, or file a suit in federal court, without having registered it.

Anonymous Trademark Lawyer says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Registration provides a “presumption.” That doesn’t mean you don’t have exclusive rights without the registration, it just means without a registration you don’t have the benefit of an evidentiary presumption. Instead, you are put to your proof in court. Which, in this case, is a trivial burden to prove because the mark is so famous.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s not correct. The only reason refusing to register is not a violation of the First Amendment right of free speech is because you can still use it even if it’s not registered. “With respect to appellant’s First Amendment rights, it is clear that the PTO’s refusal to register appellant’s mark does not affect his right to use it. No conduct is proscribed, and no tangible form of expression is suppressed. Consequently, appellant’s First Amendment rights would not be abridged by the refusal to register his mark.” In re McGinley, 660 F.2d 481 (1981).

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The only reason refusing to register is not a violation of the First Amendment right of free speech is because you can still use it even if it’s not registered.

True, but I believe the important word in G. Thompson’s post is “exclusive.”

You can still use the mark. You simply cannot bring a trademark suit against anyone else who also uses that mark.

You could possibly bring some other suit against them – a common-law unfair competition claim, for example. Those, however, are state claims, and since the Langham Act preempts state claims, they would be unlikely to succeed (and cover claims that are very different than trademarks).

gigglehurtz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Just what percentage of a population needs to be insulted before it becomes wrong? (And I am certainly not suggesting 100%, because you cannot please all the people all the time. You just can’t.)

But I find myself wondering about reason behind this number.

Are the majority (but certainly not vast majority) truly not bothered by this because they don’t consider it an insult?

Have they lost their sense of cultural pride and just don’t care (and being a white guy from the south, what do I know about cultural pride really)?

Do they have a cultural “sticks and stones” pov, and from what you’re pointing out in their past and from what I’ve seen of their present lifestyle, why would they give a fucking fuck about the fucking NFL?

Are their any Native Americans reading this blog who can give me a clue?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Only 37% ??!*&#@!!!?”

It gets worse. From the “Redskin” wiki:

“Notwithstanding the protests of activists, a 2002 poll commissioned by Sports Illustrated found that 75% of those American Indians surveyed had no objection to the Redskins name. The results of the poll have been criticized by American Indian activists due to Sports Illustrated’s refusal to provide polling information (e.g. how participants were recruited and contacted, if they were concentrated in one region, if one ethnic group is over represented and the exact wording and order of questions). But in 2004, a poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania essentially confirmed the prior poll’s findings, concluding that 91% of the American Indians surveyed in the 48 states on the mainland USA found the name acceptable and setting out in detail the exact wording of the questions.”

So that 37% may be on the high end depending on which poll is the most accurate.

Anonymous Coward says:


I eagerly await the Irish-Americans being relived of their burden of being labeled and ridiculed as violent when Notre Dame is forced to change its maskot. As an American of Scandinavian descent myself, I am also anxious for the Minnesota Vikings to change their name too, but that’s mostly because it’s embarrassing that they’re so bad this year.

out_of_the_blue says:

I too was astonished at: ONLY 37% object?!

“survey evidence that showed that 37 percent of the Native Americans surveyed”

I’m not going to get excited if they can’t get even a majority on a biased poll question.

As for NFL: it’s a legislated monopoly (that apparently Timmy and Mike Masnick approve of, so much for their consistency on either trademark or monopolies), so remove its statutory exemptions from anti-trust, and it collapses in a free market. End of problem, plus end of the obscenity of making millionaires out of athletic brutes while honest laborers get almost nothing.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

1) It feels a little odd that a trademark can be removed for the exclusive reason that someone doesn’t like the words.

2) Meanings change, just like a previous article about the word ‘tweet’ becoming generic. I may be in the minority, but when I hear ‘Redskins’ I think ‘football’ not ‘inaccurate derogatory word for those who moved here before everyone else’.

DB (profile) says:

They might lose the trademark on the name, but they won’t lose the trademark on the logo. It’s the logo that is valuable. Most uses of the unadorned name are for descriptive purposes (e.g. when reporting scores), which largely isn’t protected by trademark.

Perhaps I’m insensitive, but I don’t see the big problem. ‘Redskin’ has long lost it’s power as a disparaging name. Pretty much like “Sooner”. It’s not a particularly good name for a team, so eventually it might change anyway. I’ll put in a vote now for “Gridlock”.

S. T. Stone says:

Re: Re:

Perhaps I’m insensitive, but I don’t see the big problem.

Perhaps you?re not aware that the term ?redskins? refers to a group of people who ended up systematically slaughtered and driven off their native lands by a bunch of white guys with guns and smallpox, but I don?t think you see the problem Native American people have with the term.

How much would it really hurt Dan Snyder (and the NFL by extension) to stop using the Redskins name ? and, if he wants to honor Native Americans via the team name, consult with Native American groups to come up with a team name that doesn?t use a racial slur?

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

except for the major logic fail, that’s all well and good…

so, snyder gets with ‘the’ ‘official’ ‘Indian’ (what 1/256th Indian now?) spokespeople/group (and WHO would that be, and WHAT will the Indians who disagree do?) and they decide to call them, what, the Washington Native Ameri-Indians (In A Totally Respectful Way) ™ ? ? ?

…and we STILL have the his story of genocide THAT ‘represents’, HOW do you get out of this conundrum you have manufactured ? well, we can’t, can we ? ? ?

let’s just name them all The (cityname) Generic Sports Team, surely no one can object now…

shit, lets just get rid of sports, we’re already doing that in the schools, so we won’t have any athletes left in a generation… oh, and art, too, there is a LOT of offensive crap in that little realm…

’cause -you know- the absolute highest and most precious value of nekkid apes is to NOT be offended… IF i get offended by something/anything, SOMEONE has to pay, boyo ! ! !

oh, and comedians, those assholes are nothing but offensive, how they are allowed to live is beyond me…

lastly, do kampers realize that this faux outrage over EVERYTHING is a method to keep you distracted from the real source of problems on this planet, and blame someone, anyone but the real perps ? ? ?

no, let’s blame the world’s problems on a stupid logo instead…

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The term does not expressly refer to this. You, and others think this, but again, it’s simply not used in the negative context in which you seem to want it to be used. Obviously, this being a football team, the term is used as one of endearment (think, tough, quick, resourceful, intelligent etc.)
As a previous poster pointed out, I hope they also get rid of any reference to Vikings, as it affects me personally, it’s a word which could be taken as “derogatory”. Wouldn’t want to risk that, now would we?

I do think it’s worthwhile to point out this term has been used to further hateful/fearful endeavors, but again it’s not the case here. The issue here is theirs a group of people unable to differentiate between it being used in a hateful manner or not. Perhaps this group of people ought to take a closer look at their own overtly negative world-view?

Anonymous Coward says:

Alright Tim, I’m your huckleberry. I am also a lifelong Redskins fan.

Overlooking your hypocrisy (for now) in wanting to misuse trademark law in an attempt to censor speech, your mewling, smarmy political correctness marks you as the poster boy of much of what is wrong in contemporary society. You, and other cringing, guilt-ridden pantywaists spend much of your time obsessing over what might be offensive, gauche or in some way unsupportive of the Kum-Ba-Yah world you think is just around the corner.

You totally ignore history and context, because [mercy me!] someone finds a name offensive. So let’s use the law to try to coerce someone from using a term that might be offensive to some. That’s what you; the former-Mr. Free Speech are advocating?

When I was a kid, my grandparents referred to African-Americans as “colored people” or simply “coloreds”. It wasn’t to disparage. I’d bet most black folks would find that offensive today. As a matter of fact, use that term around the wrong black guy today, you may find yourself picking your teeth up off the ground. Yet, you don’t seem to be climbing on to your soapbox, advocating that trademark law be used to force a name change of the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People, are you? And I will bet that more than 37% of black people would find “colored people” offensive.

My parents would admonish my grandparents to refer to them as “negroes”. As at that time, that was the “PC” term. Again, today you’d get hostile stares (or worse) for using that term. But, I am waiting for your spleenful plea to use trademark law to force the United Negro College Fund to abandon its hateful, bigoted name.

In closing, I will say that while it’s nice to see you in such close touch with your touchy-feely, feminine side; you are still a hypocrite and ginormous douchenozzle. If the team name offends your delicate sensibilities sweetboy, don’t buy an RG III jersey; watch them lose to horrible teams like the Vikings; grow a pair and get the fuck over it; or cry in your pillow tonight over the inhumanity of it all.

Now that I’ve set you straight, I’m off to watch the Canucks game. (oops, apologies to the millions of Canadians who are offended).

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'Censorship'

Inigo, if you would…

‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.’

Check your definitions before commenting, someone losing the (gov/state granted) ability to keep other people from using a name/logo isn’t even remotely censorship, and would if anything be the direct opposite of censorship.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 'Censorship'

I understand what you are saying. But what Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes seeks is a name change. He has said as much. He wants to see trademark law used to coerce Dan Snyder in to calling his team something other than “Redskins”. He said quite clearly:

So how do we finally get the name changed? As it turns out, the answer just might be trademark law.

Tim’s agenda is not open that trademark to the public so it can be exploited and enlarged by greater commercial proliferation. What Tim advocates is the same sort of conduct that is routinely decried by him and other Techdirt readers and writers- the misuse of IP law to affect speech that some don’t like.

That’s hypocrisy in its most pure and unalloyed form. Tim has a career (such as it is) writing advocacy articles defending free speech, denouncing the misuse of intellectual law; and he comes up with this?

Worse still, the palace guard rushes to his defense- willfully ignoring the fact that what he advocates in this article runs contrary to the general consensus around TD about free expression and the misuse of the law to prevent speech or a term that some find objectionable.

I doubt that you and other defenders of the realm would be so quick to battle had the article been written by OOTB or some average Joe (or the Average Joe, for that matter). You and others would be well served not choosing sides based on who is saying something. Rather you should consider what they’re saying instead.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'Censorship'

I guess I’m just not seeing it.

Any name change would not be forced by the law, but rather encouraged financially due to the fact that no trademark = no exclusivity. The team wouldn’t be forced to do anything, they could continue to use the name all they want, the only change would be that others could as well.

Saying that Person X cannot use a particular name, is not the same as saying that they cannot stop others from also using it; the first is taking away their right of expression, the second is removing the taking away of those rights of others.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I was with you with your arguments about the neutrality of descriptive terms for people of particular races. That is until you resorted to personal attacks and name calling for no reason. That never strengthens an argument. Quite the contrary, it serves to undermine it. Or are you going to try to argue that “douchenozzle” is a neutral term that isn’t derogatory?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s different as Kansas City is not the same sort of national stage that appeals to desperate, attention-seeking, professional malcontents and their enablers and fanboys. I note that neither other commenters nor the author of this journalistic hair shirt bothered to address my reply.

I do know how I feel about the Chiefs. They’re not quite as good as their record indicates, but are playing exceptional defense. Jamaal Charles, however is simply amazing.

Anon says:

Just Like...

The whole controversy about the North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux”, which of was derogatory because the Sioux didn’t fight, didn’t singlehandedly wipe out a general and his army. That name should be derogatory too… because… why?

Wait a minute? North Dakota? What right do we have to that name? Or South Dakota? Or Arkansas? Or New Mexico? And we haven’t even gone through the city names yet…

Maybe there’s a point at which, if it isn’t blatantly offensive like Gov. Perry’s ranch, don’t change it.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Just Like...

You are conflating using the actual name of a tribe with a potentially derogatory word. Calling a team “The Miami Spics” or the “New York Wops” or “Minnesotan Whiteys” are a completely different thing.

I must admit, as a non-American, I keep being surprised how bent out of shape you guys get about racism (along with all the myriad other dumb things that blow your minds).

Maybe if we could replace Piers Morgan with a married lesbian black female gun-control supporter from Kenya you’ll all go ‘pop’! 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

“Redskin” is offensive, you’re sure? English isn’t my native language, so I don’t really know, but I thought “redskin” was the quite neutral, probably a bit irritating, but not exactly derogatory.
So are you quite sure that it’s not a matter of some “community organizer” having decided to make some noise turning a non-issue into a big issue, as happens sometimes?

anon says:

Intresting how you guys are always against censorship except when its used against racism.
Or how you critize the media for bias but join up with the ‘anti-white’ groups whos only supporter is your biased media.

Calling racism on everything is bad. Calling black people niggers is not as bad as beating them up or hanging them. You guys are taking it too far. Even the constitution supports it.
And they use the word every day.
Srsly guys chill down and stop using racism as an excuse to get attention.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t see the problem with the redskin name there, but then again I am not native-american-indian although we share the same phenotype there.

To me it sounds like Black Panther, is that racist?

It was easier when I was a kid, I didn’t had to care about those things, all I knew was that the little plastic soldiers where always green, the cowboys were always blue and the indians were always red, and I had to find one in a horse to be Custer to re-enact the Battle of Little BigHorn aka Custer’s Last Stand as imagined by an 6 years boy, meaning Custer was not the incompetent idiot that attacked a superior force got boxed in and massacred but the brave soldier that got himself in a difficult position and fought to his last breadth out of courage.

One thing that I always liked about the native American-Indian stereotype was how you just got what you saw in someone and named it, there was something innocent and honest about that was appealing, there was no euphemisms, no hiding behind invisible walls you had to accept things like they were, that mean you had at some point in life to accept what you were and not what you thought you were or something like that and I wonder if this redskin name affair is not the white culture destroying the beautiful American Indian one, playing the same little word games as the white people.

Sometimes I resent growing up in all of this world full of “don’ts”.

People where I live were throwing garbage in my garden I know why, they told me to my face that I am not welcome because I not one of them, then when I starting composting whatever organic matter they threw in my garden and started growing food with it they stopped, because after all they were giving me free raw material (LoL), then they started throwing non organic trash, which I promptly recycled, the plastic bags became rope, which I made a hammock, ceiling plant hangers and much more, the metals I melted and created some replicas of old street lamps posts, all those nails, cans are really something now (LoL), but it is getting hard where before those people were happy to give me their trash, now they go all the way to not let any on the streets so I don’t collect it anymore, silly people.

I think what I was thinking is why the American Indians there are not turning that trashy name into something else, something good and that everyone could be proud of, get the trademark revoked by all means not because it is offensive but because you want to do something good with it, now that would be greater than anything else, it means whatever others do to hurt you you can make it work in your favor, it means that even if life only gives you shit, you will make a treasure out of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

First, Snyder IS an idiot that doesn’t know how to keep offensive crap from flying out of his mouth. However, that said, his decision to resist calls to change the name likely is rooted more in money than a racial prejudice against Native Americans. The brand of a successful NFL franchise is expensive to develop. Even if the term is considered offensive to most Native Americans, the fact that the vast majority of all Americans (which would be the market for related merchandise that Snyder is considering) have never considered the term derogatory or offensive, would mean undertaking considerable expense and effort to rebuild a brand to satisfy a small vocal minority when the market has not yet deemed it necessary. It’s more corporate insensitivity than prejudice. Of course, in our overly politically correct society where corporate decisions are made without a social conscience, he can’t say that that is what is going on either.

I am not saying whether he should or should not change the name. I am merely pointing out what is likely really behind all of this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What he SHOULD have done in response to this was simply put the matter to the public and let the people decide instead of taking the stance that he has. That would have had a couple distinct advantages.

1. He would have had valuable market research on how popular the new brand (and subsequent sales of new merchandise under that brand) would be that he could consider against the cost of developing that brand.

2. If the majority rejected the idea, he could simply point to the results and state that the people didn’t want it changed instead of taking the morally indefensible position he has and allowing that minority to paint him as a racist asshole, garnering more support from some those who were otherwise indifferent to the issue.

But he can’t do that now because he’s taken a position and he has to stick with it which was truly a dumb move on his part.

Anonymous Coward says:

Change name, make tons of money

Snyder and the NFL should look at this as a goldmine of a sales opportunity. Why do you think they’re constantly redesigning jerseys, doing throwback jerseys, etc? To sell more stuff. Change the name and everyone who now has Washington Redskins gear will go out and buy stuff with the new team name on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Change name, make tons of money

Changing the designs is one thing. Changing the entire brand is something completely different. When you change the design, naturally fans will want to purchase the latest design so that they can feel included those with the most current pieces of merchandise. The retro designs also sell out of nostalgia. However, changing the entire brand requires money and work to promote the new brand and it takes time for people to get comfortable with it. Also, there are lots of people who have existing merchandise that they spent their money on that is no longer associated with the teams brand. They will not be happy and feel betrayed having invested in a brand that is suddenly cast aside by the management of the team. Some of these will refuse to accept the new brand for this very reason. If there was a huge majority of people calling for the change, then it may be worth it, but if not, it is a very risky maneuver from a purely business perspective.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

While you’re at it- sue “Queer Nation”. It’s a gay advocacy group. And where I come from, “queer” is a highly offensive term. So much so that people have lost their jobs for using that term. I find it offensive and I’m not even gay. I’d be willing to bet more than 37% of gay people are offended by the word “queer”.

So what do you say Timmy? Are you going to take the lead on forcing Queer Nation to change its name to Gay Nation or Homosexual Nation?

Are you starting to see how stupid you look yet? I’m guessing you must, as we haven’t heard a peep from you since you posted this embarrassing screed.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: who's been called a redskin actually???

excellent insight and a good point…

people are just TOO quick to get all up in other people’s shit over relative NOTHING-BURGERS, EXCEPTING the crucial people who actually run this here ball-o-mud: if the concern trolls put 1/10th their effort into (rightfully and righteously) excoriating the rich, the pols, the banksters and korporadoes who have fucked this planet, we would have won the day already…

instead, we’re going to get butthurt-by-proxy over relatively inconsequential injustices (if that), but we’re too chickenshit to confront the stuff that REALLY matters…

Anonymous Coward says:

Language is established by the people who use it and meanings of words change over time. In other words, the meaning of words are determined by those who use them to communicate. If the vast majority of people consider a term generally offensive, then it is. If they don’t it is not regardless of what a very vocal minority thinks or whether it was considered offensive at it’s inception. If that minority can convince the majority to accept it’s viewpoint, however (which is what they are really trying to do here) then it certainly can become offensive. But at this point and time I can’t say by definition that the word is currently an offensive term even if some consider it to be.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If the vast majority of people consider a term generally offensive, then it is. If they don’t it is not regardless of what a very vocal minority thinks or whether it was considered offensive at it’s inception.

It requires a “vast” majority? So if say 65% of people find it offensive, it isn’t offensive? I don’t much care for your definition.

99guspuppet (profile) says:

Racism charges are a common way of bullying people and promoting censorship. Saying a word is commonly accepted as offensive is no reason to censor it. Redskin , nigger , honkie , wop , jew-boy …… see … I printed those *words* and no one died. No one even has to read them. Stick and stones may break my bones … *words* will never harm me. Words are conversation… they are good…. actions may or may not be good. Force and violence are what I detest. By the way, although I have pale skin, I did not put smallpox in blankets,or steal land from someone else. Anyone claiming Native Indian heritage did not shoot arrows at settlers. Being an American citizen does not mean you own the US Navy , or condone the POTUS or have big muscles ( maybe in the head ). Yelling *fire* in a theatre only causes panic if the attendees are *idiots*.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Racism charges are a common way of bullying people and promoting censorship.”

Racist comments are a common way of bullying and inciting hatred.

Calling a football team “redskins” is not a racist comment, its a name of a football team, not a slur on an ethnic group.

Calling an African American a Nigger is a racist slur with the intent to slur and denigrate a specific ethnic group.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Calling a football team “redskins” is not a racist comment, its a name of a football team, not a slur on an ethnic group.

Calling an African American a Nigger is a racist slur with the intent to slur and denigrate a specific ethnic group.

Okay then, so we can just rename the team the Washington Niggers, and nobody would have a problem with that, right?

Or, in honor of Dan Snyder’s heritage he could rename the team the Washington Kikes, because clearly that wouldn’t be an offensive slur against practitioners of Judaism, but just the name of a football team.

Anonymous Coward says:

Must admit, it is not what you say so much as how you say it. Never thought the term Negro was offensive ,Spanish for black I believe. But understand how that could be offensive. You can call your pet beagle a female dog , but bitch would also be appropriate. Faggot used to be a cigarette, before that a bundle of sticks. If you are gay, (used to mean happy) and a friend of mine, I would hope the expression faggot wouldn’t be offensive to you, same with my niggers, because the terms can also be endearing, not meant to offend at all. I hope everyone can stop being so offended by the semantics of things so we can all just get on with it. I guess we will never agree on some things, but hope we can agree to disagree, and move forward, unlike the idiots in D.C….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Never thought the term Negro was offensive”

Most people don’t, but it also matter if you are ‘in that group’ so to speak, many white Americans are not offended by the term “Nigga”, but I would say most of them are not African Americans either.

When I went to school Negro was what African Americans were called, they we leaned that in school, it was not meant to be derogatory at all. And was not used in that context, therefore it is not a racist term.

But this, Tim, this is CRAZY STUPID, made worse by your desire to employ trademark to be even more crazy.

I am guessing the US has laws on the books in regards to racist slurs and derogatory comments, so why try to distort trademark law to supersede racial vilification laws ?

Is it because this is clearly NOT racial vilification ?
and is in fact some idiot PC thug ?

Anonymous Coward says:

America is racist - generally

on a scale of countries, America is right up there with the best of them for racist attitudes, but MOST people do not consider this term derogatory at all, it is after all the name of a football team, no a comment on a ‘race’ of people.

to be racist the term needs to be directed at that group of people, but the redskins football team is not ‘that group’, again its the name of a team, and is not used in that context as a racist slur.

the majority of native Americans understand this, and it is amusing that once again, TD is applauding trademark for censorship.

it is not a derogatory term if used to describe a football team, the intent is not to denigrate a race of people, the term is used to describe a football team.

The same applies to the New Zealand ALL BLACKS for example, it describes a football team, it is not a ‘slur on all people with black skin’.

What is the real shame Timbo, is you cannot seem to tell the difference !!!

are you going to go after Eskimo pie’s next ? or “black cat lollies” or “red skin candy bars” ?? what about “white sox softball team?

a racist slue is a ‘term used to denigrate a specific ethnic group, the term “redskin” is well know to be a name of a football team, and not a term to denigrate a specific ethnic group.

Trademark should not be used for censorship, political correctness run wild.

for example, as a lot have pointed out here, the term “redskins” is commonly known to refer to a football team, and not known to be a slur on an ethnic group, but on the other hand everyone knows what “Nigga” means !!!

Do you notice the difference ???

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Read the arguments criticizing to have books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” banned or bowdlerized because it uses the term “nigger”. Hell, look at most hip-hop by black rappers. “My nigga” is so common and overused it almost becomes a joke.

That you think of Maya Angelou as some “book” – she’s an author, so you know – is an indication that reading, research and intelligence are not your strong suits. But anyone without a turd for a brain already knew that.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Anybody knows if a redneck really have a redneck?

Fun fact: the term “redneck” arose to describe poor, white Southern farm laborers – probably indentured servants or their descendants – in the late 1800’s. Around the turn of the century, it was used to describe poor white southern Democrats. In the early 20th century, it was co-opted by the UMW (a multi-racial union of Appalachian coal miners) to refer to a union man or striker.

It was only in the post-Civil-Rights era that the term became a derogatory stereotype of poor whites, especially poor white Southerners.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Correct. The term stems from laborers in the rural south who would work long hours in the fields, and as a result often had sunburns on the back of their necks. Originally this was viewed as symbol of the willingness to work hard to earn a living and was thus seen as admirable. As many of these people lacked the education and exposure to much of the culture of the rest of civilized society, with the growth of media and communication technology, the term later became associated with ignorance and backward thinking as these people were seen in the media resulting in the negative connotation of the term.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Originally this was viewed as symbol of the willingness to work hard to earn a living and was thus seen as admirable.

I’m not so sure about that. I think it was originally indicative of anti-poor classist attitudes. The rednecks did not have much higher of a social standing in the South than black slaves did.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nice history there, but still why redneck?

I have a suspicious that is was applied to poor people because they had to pass long hour under the sun which made their exposed necks red, while their hats protected their faces.

Aha! Wikipedia to the rescue.

The term characterized farmers having a red neck caused by sunburn from hours working in the fields. A citation from 1893 provides a definition as “poorer inhabitants of the rural districts…men who work in the field, as a matter of course, generally have their skin stained red and burnt by the sun, and especially is this true of the back of their necks”

Wikipedia: Redneck

Wikipedia: Redskin(slang)

Wikipedia: List of ethnic slurs

Did anyone know that “apple” is a derogatory term for Native American Indians?

The vast majority of derogatory terms in Portuguese uses the color (black), instead the race (negro) that is why if you refer to someone in Portuguese by calling them black they will call you a racist.

Pink in Asian countries is a just another color for males they don’t have that connotation that it has in Europe or the Americas.

The Ok symbol in America is a good sign do it on a Latin country and it means a-hole specially if you invert it and have your fingers pointing down which in English speaking countries and some Asian ones means coins but in other countries means F. YOU!.

The marvels of cultural BS and perceived wrongs.
Some things are regional, pertinent to only part of the whole group.

Things I started thinking about:

– Prejudice has a temporal component, what is a sign of prejudice today, may not be in the future, using words as a guide to what is racist may or may not be akin to using a word filter to block spam.

– Prejudice has a cultural component, what is derogatory in some places is not in others or vice versa.

– Prejudice has physical properties meaning it can be universal or can be localized, restricted geographically to some region.

What that means?

Have no idea it just crossed my mind that this is a complicated things to deal and is just mind boggling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Language by definition is dynamic. Words mean what the population in general believes them to mean whether some people like it or not. As I stated earlier, they can attempt to change the meaning by convincing the population to accept their viewpoint, but merely stating that a word is offensive does not make it so if the people in general don’t agree with them.

Fergie (profile) says:

So if a small number of people find it (the name “Redskins)offensive we all must abide by their thoughts?
Next thing you know they will take from the Muslim playbook and threaten violence. With all this PC BS we will be subservient to every Tom, Dick and Henry!!!
Call a spade a spade and nigger a nigger, if they can do it why cannot the world in general say those words?

Petar says:

Wow 37% of A.I. Thinks it might be offensive ?? 51% of USA considers that everythink that does not have Christianity in its name to be offensive . 90% of them consider Congress to be offensive . Timothy your trollish additude telks me you are selfrighteus dick like vegans , fruiterian , Jehova whitness or multitude of people that annoy us normal people with not thinking past what thier gut feeling is tellibg them . In short you are as bad as people that use the Redskin term to give offense…

Anonymous Coward says:

In the business?

This, for obvious reasons, essentially amounts to the government not wanting to be in the business of hate-speech.

No. This does not mean the government is in the business of hate speech. If the government allows the Whig party to trademark their name that does not mean the government is endorsing the Whigs, or political parties in general, or words that start with W. And this would not change if the Whigs endorsed legalizing the murder of all non-Whigs.

And referencing the owner’s political views in your article makes it WORSE. Because now you’re saying that you’re intentionally denying equal protection under the law based on someone’s politics.

You know what? Since you used an offensive word or two yourself, maybe the government should prohibit Techdirt from showing any Internet ads or selling or promoting any products online. After all, we wouldn’t want the government to “endorse” such an offensive word by allowing a site using it to profit via an Internet that gets some government funding. That’s totally not censorship because you can still write the articles, right? We’re just using the power of the federal government to make sure you lose money doing it.

37 percent of the Native Americans surveyed found the word the team uses as their name to be offensive.

I know lots of people have already pointed this out, but that’s not just a minority of people – it’s a minority of the people who are supposedly being disparaged. I’m astounded that you could quote a number like 37% and think it HELPS your cause. Do we really need to give minority groups (and a MINORITY of a minority group) veto power over all product names?

Sigh, the commenters above are missing out on the fact the tribal leaders at both a local and nat’l level met with Snyder and the NFL and asked them again to change the name just a few weeks ago

This might have more weight if we didn’t already have the survey saying how the average tribal member felt. I mean, American leaders at both the local and national levels might endorse a restrictive trade agreement, but that does not mean that most Americans support it or that it would be beneficial for them.

since roughly the time us white folks landed on this land and began helpfully distributing small-pox-ladened blankets to shivering women-folk.

Yeah, of course every person with white skin is responsible for this. Even though it was centuries ago and not only has nobody alive today ever done that, many of us do not even have any ANCESTORS who were in this country at a time where they could POSSIBLY have done that. You profess to hate racism and then you assign blanket guilt (pun intended) based on skin color. Lovely.

In closing, to quote a wise man:

As strong proponents of free speech, we’ve made the point in the past that protecting the freedom of speech is going to necessitate protecting it for the kind of speech you wouldn’t typically like to exist. Put another way, it’s quite easy to be in favor of free speech when you aren’t the one offended. It takes much more mental courage to stick up for the protected speech of a Nazi, a bigot, a sexist, or an idiot.

I guess you weren’t feeling mentally courageous when you wrote this article.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

OK, as it turns out, even though the Redskins are older that that, they didn’t bother registering their trademark until 1967.

But still, I believe it’s ridiculous to attempt to invalidate a trademark that’s over 40 years old for this reason.

Also, I found this on Wikipedia:

Some members of congress and former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials have sent a letter to the current chairman of the FCC asking that the use of “redskin” by broadcast media be prohibited in the same manner as other racially charged words.

And this is why people advocate for smaller government. When the government has its fingers in everything, people with an agenda can use the government to pressure a private organization in multiple ways until they are forced to cave. Deny them trademarks, deny them radio and TV, maybe next deny them building permits so they can never repair their stadium. Heck, let’s cut off their public electricity, water, and sewer, and tear up any nearby roads so people have no way to get there. Anything goes, because we don’t like a word they use!

Anonymous Coward says:


Darryl actually applauds due process, as he will in this case.
His comment stands, Timmy got his bottom smacked good on this one, and not only by due process, but public opinion as displayed right here on TD.

Lets have far more “due process” please !!! the more the better, that’s how much I hate due process !!!

I am glad you think using trademark law to censor free speech and to subvert common use entomology is ‘due process’ lets see how this pans out.

(or do you think the term “pans out” is a slur on early American settlers who mined gold?)

Anonymous Coward says:


Public opinion? Yours? No, your opinion of due process is sucking the cock of horse with no name, whose idea of due process is rallying artists to mob the homes of Internet users and beat them up.

You’re a complete and thorough fucktard, and the world pities anyone who purchases a solar panel you touched.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Late to the party here, I know, but wanted to be one of the “silly” people with a “stupid argument” (nice job there attacking anyone who might disagree with you and painting them as a racist for doing so right from the start, btw, Tim).

So every time a term changes from “socially acceptible” to “offensive to a minority of a minority” anyone who had been using said term, no matter how long they’ve been using it, needs to be pressured through the government revoking their trademark registration into changing it? And you, Tim, think that’s a good policy? Wow. What could go wrong there? But since I think that’s a pretty short sighted way to use trademark law and could easily lead to censorship, I must be stupid and silly according to Tim.

I wish someone in the TD office, like, I don’t know, and editor, would read some of Tim’s screeds before they are posted and maybe tone down the sarcasm and self rightousness a tad before putting them on the site. It doesn’t make TD as a whole look very good, IMO. And I’m a loyal reader, even though I don’t post as much as I used to. Just a thought.

John85851 (profile) says:

Pick a name that has something to do with Washington

I think at this point, the owner is being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn.

No matter what people might think of the word “Redskins”, the fact of the matter is that this has nothing whatsoever to do with Washington DC. Why not use a name like “Senators” (baseball) or “Capitals” (hockey)? Technically “Wizards” (basketball) doesn’t fit either, but it’s better than “Bullets”.

And why doesn’t someone fight the name-changing battle from this angle (and maybe appeal to the owner’s vanity of picking his own Washington-related name) instead of beating him up over a racially-charged word. Like I said, he’s stubborn and more people who fight him, the more he’ll stand his ground and defend his position.

nico78 (profile) says:

Not sure about this. Wouldn’t the trademark in question have had to be considered “scandalous or immoral” / “disreput[ing] persons” at the time of its registration? If all the ongoing legal actions mentioned do not harm the “good name” in the public opinion, I fear there will be neither successful legal action nor an interest in the trademark’s owner to change anything. Being founded sometime in the 1930s, they rather might counter with protecting the heritage. I wasn’t aware of this issue before and while cross-reading noticed there are many similar team names across sports and leagues. I assume not every fan or team member is even aware of a potential racist meaning of their team’s name and wouldn’t associate with such. But then while in the US there are often attempts to be politically correct, it seems the real problems are not tackled. Latent racism remains, in a land founded and built by immigrants from all over the world. Change segregation, education and attitude first and names will change automatically or lose their meaning.

George Smith says:

Washington football team name change

I think Dan Snyder should change the name of his washington football team because it is defames a race of people who are Native americans. I don’t think he would like anyone having a team called the Washington Jew boys, or the Washington Holacaust my point is the antidefamation league should be standing up against this. I feel he Dan Snyder is a jewish racist who practice hatred.

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