Skip to comments.Trademark Office and Sen. Reid Pressure Football Team Owner Again
Posted on 06/22/2014 3:03:29 PM PDT by Kaslin
The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Boards cancelation of federal trademark registration for the name Washington Redskins, after ruling it disparages Native Americans, puts pressure on team owner Daniel Snyder and the National Football League (NFL) to change the name but falls far short of settling the issue.
The split, 2-1, decision by unelected trademark board members shows the increasingly heavy hand that politics is playing in the activities of the private sector, since the ruling followed recent public calls for a name change from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The team counters that the long-standing Redskins name is intended to honor Native Americans and its trademark attorney expressed confidence that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Boards June 18 ruling would be overturned on appeal.
At stake for Snyder and the NFL are millions of dollars in annual Redskins merchandise sales that feature the team name and its distinctive logo. The huge long-term financial stakes for the team and the NFL heighten the importance of fighting the decision on legal grounds, as has been done successfully in the past.
While the ruling is under appeal, the team can continue using the name and trademark without interruption. In fact, the trademark board issued a similar ruling more than 20 years ago that was overturned on appeal in 2003, when a federal court found the claim of disparagement unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.
The trademark ruling also raises questions about whether other sports team names could be interpreted as disparaging. Does the nickname Vikings shed people of Scandinavian heritage in a negative light, even though the NFL team in Minnesota that uses that name represents a state settled by people from Nordic nations? Is the name Fighting Irish used by the University of Notre Dame disparaging of people whose family ancestry is from Ireland?
The name Redskins originated in 1933 when the team moved to Bostons Fenway Park, after playing its first season at Braves Field in the same city and using the nickname Braves. The nickname stayed with the team when it moved to Washington in 1937.
Sen. Reid and 49 other Democrats in the Senate wrote to the NFL in May asking for a change in the Redskins name, describing it as a racial slur. The five Democratic senators who did not write to the NFL to request a name change included Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, the state where the team holds its training camp. Sen. Kaines absence from the effort to pressure Snyder also is significant, since he previously served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
However, what once was an accepted term to describe Native Americans has sparked opposition from segments of the Indian population in recent years. Sen. Reid and the other Democratic senators who wrote to the NFL indicated that organizations representing more than 2 million Native Americans across the country and 300-plus tribes have passed resolutions in support of a name change.
Rather than try privately to persuade the ownership to rename the Redskins voluntarily, Sen. Reid chose to issue a June 18 statement that the writing for a change of the name is on the wall in giant, blinking, neon lights.
Sen. Reid continued, This name will change and justice will be done for the tribes in Nevada and across the nation who care so deeply about this issue. Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it is just a matter of time until he is forced to do the right thing.
The singling out of the Redskins name and logo arguably is a double standard that seeks to punish one owner of a privately owned organization, while allowing others to use names such as the National Football Leagues Kansas City Chiefs, as well as Major League Baseballs Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.
I attended a Major League Baseball game two years ago in St. Francisco when the hometown Giants played the Atlanta Braves and I talked to a protester who identified himself as a Native American. That gentleman told me that he considered any use of an Indian name with a sports team as offensive. He even objected to the nickname Braves, which Sen. Reid and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board thus far have not claimed disparages Native Americans.
Redskins President Bruce Allen wrote a May 23 letter in response to Sen. Reid to point out the name Redskins originated as a Native American expression of solidarity by multi-tribal delegations that traveled to Washington to negotiate with U.S. government officials. Allen also noted that the teams logo of an Indian was designed and approved by Native American leaders in 1971 when his father, the late George Allen, was the teams head coach.
In addition, a national survey of Native Americans reported that more than 90 percent said the name was not offensive, Allen wrote. In addition, many schools on Native American reservations use the Redskins name and logo.
Further, a 2014 national survey by the Associated Press found that 83 percent of Americans favor keeping the Washington Redskins name.
Allen wrote in his letter to Reid that the team will keep assisting and honoring Native Americans through its recently created Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. That Foundation already has initiated more than 40 projects, including the distribution of 1,000-plus tablet computers for Native American students, as well as providing more than a dozen vehicles for health and community outreach.
The perception of the Redskins name may have changed since 1937 when the team arrived in Washington and Snyder might want to weigh the latest sensitivities when deciding whether to keep or replace the name. However, the team is within its rights to continue making the case that its name honors Native Americans unless the courts, not just Sen. Reid and his followers, decide otherwise.
When is Harry Reid going to be investigated? He’s the biggest punk in America.
>> Hes the biggest punk in America.
I thought that was McAuliffe, and Reid was just dingy.
The USA will be a LOT better off when Dingy Harry is no longer in the US Senate!
Not sure how the word mark registration can be canceled given it’s definitively nondescript.
it was okayed decades ago! Is there no such thing as Ex Post Facto?
Reid don’t you have something better to do like herd and protect the turtles?
When did the name of a football team become the business of the US Senate?
In reality, the TM should protect the Redskins against this type of pernicious political manipulation.
There’s a serious abuse of power taking place.
When they put a loony freshman Senator in charge of the U.S. because they wanted to try something different not realizing he was AntiChrist or one of his buddies. Everything is oppositeland now.
You said it
The unemployment, alcoholism, drug abuse and poverty have absolutely no relation to a football team 3,000 miles away.
The policies put forth by your fellow Libholes have destroyed their lives.
Odd how that seems to escape so many people.....
The entire federal government seems to be suffering from Mission Creep.
Barack Obama thinks he is not only the Chief Executive but the legislature and judicial as well.
Michelle Obama has decided that the nation elected her as well as Barack so she can dictate what we should feed our kids.
The president has decided that the military isn’t primarily for protecting the nation. He has converted it into an agent of social change to push his homosexual agenda and uses Marines and others as flunkies around the world.
Barack Obama has decided that his job is larger than the law allows and that his wishes supersede the US Constitution. He ignores laws, especially immigration laws, in order to effect the radical changes that he wants to force on the nation.
The FBI and ATF not only seek to identify and nab criminals.
They often work hard to turn people into criminals, or to make them appear to be criminals, breaking the laws themselves in the process.
Many federal agencies have decided their mission also includes Law Enforcement and have built their own SWAT type security forces.
The Trademark Office has decided that they want to expand their charter to force political correctness on the nation.
The IRS, who can’t even properly collect taxes from their own deadbeat, tax cheating employees, spends teir time persecuting people who hold different political views than the president. Then lying, cheating, and breaking more laws to cover it up.
The BLM and EPA has decided that their jobs are to serve the interests of the militant “Greenies” rather than act in the best interests of the nation and the majority of citizens.
Many Senators and Congressmen, who do a terrible job as legislators, spend a lot of their time trying to change our culture and dictate what people should believe and how they should behave.
Eric Holder will indite the Redskins owner on something. Count on it.
I don’t doubt it, but he one he needs to indite is himself
I don’t doubt it, but he one the needs to indite is himself
I don’t doubt it, but the one the needs to indite is himself
Instead of the face of the warrior... Dan Snyder should put a REDSKIN POTATO in the place.
LOL! I love it.
And, I mean it!
Like run a rancher off his ranch so you can build a solar electricity farm for your Chinese Communist buddies?
A Redskin lineman needs to do a crack back block on Ol Harry.