Tags: Confederate Flag

Redskins Should Not Cave on Name

Monday, 03 August 2015 11:26 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The Confederate battle flag is not the only cultural artifact being purged from public view. Commercial enterprises have also come under government scrutiny and been found wanting by the feelings police.

Just ask Danny Snyder, the much–reviled owner of the Redskins — a team that claims to be part of the National Football League but, based on its record the past few years, has a tough time proving it belongs.

Snyder is not reviled because the team is named the Redskins, he’s reviled because many fans consider him a meddling owner whose propensity to play favorites with players undermines the coaching staff and destroys locker room cohesion.

Washington fans don’t have problem with the name.

The problem comes from a woman who lives 2,000 miles away in Arizona and claims the name Redskins is a racial slur. Now a federal judge agrees with her and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and has canceled the Redskins trademark because it “may disparage” members of the Native American community.

If this ruling stands it means the team can continue to use the Redskins name, but none of the team’s merchandise, logos, marketing materials, and clothing will be protected from trademark infringement.

The original complaint about the name was brought by Arizona resident Amanda Blackhorse and the Oneida Indian Nation (located 391 miles north of the stadium) before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that is part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The disgruntled rely on judges and boards because they don’t have the support of the populace. In fact the Washington Times found the board that originally canceled trademark protection for the team “hadn't received a single letter from a member of the public complaining about the team's name . . . ”

With no groundswell of support for the protest, the complainers hired a crowd of lawyers and went the legal route.

But whether or not the term “redskins” is a pejorative remains a matter of opinion and the protesters may be in the minority among the Native American community.

In Anadarko, Okla.— the town bills itself as The Indian Capital of the Nation — the movie theater in the town, which is 41 percent Native American, is called the Redskin Theatre. The Washington Post found three majority Native American high schools whose mascot is the Redskins.

The three are in Red Mesa High in Arizona, Wellpinit High in Washington and Kingston High again in Oklahoma. So how can Redskins be a slur in the white-bread D.C. area and a point of pride in Native American towns and high schools?

The nation has a mechanism for deciding controversies like this and it doesn’t include using the law to force others to obey your personal preferences.

The marketplace is fully capable of determining whether or not the Redskins should keep the name. If enough people stop buying tickets, stop attending games, stop watching the games on TV, and stop buying merchandise to protest the use of the name then the name will be changed in  response to overwhelming demand. Not the legally amplified complaints of a relative few.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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The nation has a mechanism for deciding controversies. The marketplace is fully capable of determining whether or not the Redskins should keep the name. Not the legally amplified complaints of a relative few.
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Monday, 03 August 2015 11:26 AM
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