from the team-redskins dept
I've never really made it a secret how much I loathe the Washington Redskins organization. I dislike their tasteless, stupid, racist team name. I hate their dumb, overly-litigious owner. And I really have nothing but disdain for the team's attempt to control public perception by strong-arming the media. And, in past posts, I've come down on the side of the government when it cancelled the team's trademark for its name, declaring that the government shall not be in the business of granting trademarks for terms that are disparaging. I was slightly less comfortable when the DOJ made a weak argument that denying the trademark wasn't a First Amendment violation, but, still, no Redskins trademark was a good thing in my mind, partially because I hate the Redskins.
But I hate hypocrisy more. And government hypocrisy is the most delicious hate-meal I've ever found, which is why I'm jumping ship and declaring myself on team Redskins. What hypocrisy am I talking about? Well, the government's hypocrisy as delightfully and vulgarly laid out in this filing the team put in its appeals case.
The PTO has registered hundreds if not thousands of marks that the Team believes are racist, or misogynistic, vulgar,It's hard to decide exactly which part of this is more fun: the clearly gleeful way the filing lists these apparently valid trademarks or the image in my head of a government mid-level employee stamping "GRANTED" on an application for Big Titty Blend Coffee. Regardless, what's made clear in this filing is that the government's unwillingness to grant a trademark on vulgar or disparaging terms is wildly inconsistent. The term Redskins, after all, can't be said to be any more offensive than "Dago." What appeared to be a stance by the PTO on grounds of value instead now looks to be wind-socking for the outrage gale. And for the Redskins organization, that sucks and has to be massively frustrating.
or otherwise offensive. By way of example only, the following marks are registered today: TAKE YO PANTIES OFF clothing; DANGEROUS NEGRO shirts; SLUTSSEEKER dating services; DAGO SWAGG clothing; DUMB BLONDE beer; TWATTY GIRL cartoons; BAKED BY A NEGRO bakery goods; BIG TITTY BLEND coffee; RETARDIPEDIA website; MIDGET-MAN condoms and inflatable sex dolls; and JIZZ underwear. These are not isolated instances. The government routinely registers pornographers’ marks: TEENSDOPORN.COM, MILFSDOPORN.COM, THUG PORN, GHETTO BOOTY, and BOUND GANGBANGS are but a few.
And for the argument I had previously made -- that government ought not endorse the term "Redskins" through granting it a trademark -- to work, the government would need to be consistent on the matter. Otherwise, it is picking and choosing speech as a matter of government acknowledgement. It appears the PTO has proven itself incapable of this consistency, again, per the filing.
No one today thinks registration reflects government approval. But if this Court holds that it does, how will the government explain registrations like MARIJUANA FOR SALE, CAPITALISM SUCKS DONKEY BALLS, LICENSED SERIAL KILLER, YID DISH, DIRTY WHOOORE CLOTHING COMPANY, and MURDER 4 HIRE?Now, look, is the term Redskins an antiquated, racist term? Absolutely yes. Is it still worth hating Daniel Snyder for making this the hill he wants to die on, rather than simply coming up with another team name? Oh, for sure. But should a government be applying standards of offense to trademark registrations when its shown itself to be incapable of having any consistent standards in doing so? No, I don't think it should any longer. I did think so, but I was wrong.
So...sigh...go Redskins, I guess.