United States Patent & Trademark Office Cancels the Washington Redskins Trademark Registration … Says Football Team’s Name “Disparaging to Native Americans”
JUST CURIOUS, HOW WAS THE NAME “REDSKINS” CONSIDERED OK FOR 82 YEARS?
Don’t ask for things, you might just open Pandora’s box … The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark stating that Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups. However, the action does not prevent the NFL’s Washington Redskins from using the name, with no patent protection, the team could lose revenue from preventing others to produce and sell merchandise using the same name.
But of course it is only a coincidence that this issue has grown with the presence of a community agitator as president.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration on Wednesday, a move that won’t force the NFL team to change its name but fuels the intense fight by opponents to eliminate what they view as a racial slur against Native Americans.
The 99-page decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said the team’s name and logo are disparaging. It dilutes the Redskins’ legal protection against infringement and hinders the team’s ability to block counterfeit merchandise from entering the country.
But its effect is largely symbolic. The ruling cannot stop the team from selling T-shirts, beer glasses and license-plate holders with the moniker or keep the team from trying to defend itself against others who try to profit from the logo.
From Eugene Volokh at the WAPO: 2-to-1 decision, Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. (USPTO TTAB June 18, 2014). A quick excerpt:
[T]hese registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered, in violation of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) [which bars, in relevant part, registrations of marks that "may disparage ... persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute"]. This decision concerns only the statutory right to registration under Section 2(a). We lack statutory authority to issue rulings concerning the right to use trademarks.
Hmm, so who is next, the Cleveland Indians? And those of you at Atlanta Brave games doing the “tomahawk chop” will be arrested and cited for a hate crime.
Legal Insurrection opines, if the “Redskins” trademark is cancelled by USPTO as “disparaging,” are “Negro” and “Colored” next? So does that mean the United Negro College Fund and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People should have their trademarks revoked?
Other names up for consideration, the Washington Scandals, Washington Tyranny, Washington PC’s, or my personal favorite the Washington Waste.
The PC Police Are about to Ruin Football … Is the NFL Really Going to Adopt a 15 Yard Penalty for Use of the “N” Word, What About Other Racial Slurs?
PC police look to make the use of the “N” word a 15 yard penalty in the NFL …
Not that I don’t find the use of the “N” word completely offensive, but does it really have to be a 15-yard penalty next year in the NFL? If John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, has his way it will. Are they trying to destroy what has become the most popular sport in America? First they make it that you cannot touch the QB ever, then they make the game where the defense can no longer hit receivers, and now they want to penalize language. GOOD GRIEF. What’s next, 15 yard penalties for inappropriate texting? Sorry, but this has to be about the stupidest idea yet because they are about to open up a Pandora’s box that they can never come back from. Political correctness is ruining America, now they look to first ruin the NFL. In a game where the overwhelming majority of player are black, what is the PC police talking about with penalizing the “N” word? How often does this really happen and in what context?
If the NFL rules committee goes here, they will destroy the sport. No one is condoning racial slurs, but this is no place for a rules committee. They are acting more like “Big Government” politicians looking to regulate everything out of existence and in turn doing more damage than good. One would think that groups and the NFL would be more worried about the felony arrests and the conduct of it’s players than being the talk police. Let’s hope no one deems “Omaha” as a racial slur.
John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance that monitors diversity in the NFL, said he expects the league’s competition committee to enact a rule at the owner’s meeting next month making it an automatic 15-yard penalty if a player uses the N-word on the field, with a second infraction meriting an ejection.
Wooten spoke about his desire to eradicate the word completely from NFL workplaces at the Fritz Pollard event during the combine, wanting it to be fineable and policed throughout team facilities, and received a standing ovation according to those in attendance. Wooten said he will continue being vigilant about this with the NFL office and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I will be totally shocked if the competition committee does not uphold us on what we’re trying to do,” Wooten said. “We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.”
The racial makeup of the NFL for 2012 shows that blacks were the overwhelming majority. A far difference number than the ethnic demographics of the United States. of 72.4% White and 12.6% Black. Which begs the question, what racism and racial use of the “N” word are these people talking about?
During the NFL’s 2012 season, the percentage of African American players decreased to 66.3 percent in 2012 from 66.6 percent during the 2011 season. The percentage of whites in 2012 decreased to 30.1 percent from 31 percent in 2011. The percentage of Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islander, “other” and international players were 0.7 percent, 1.1 percent, 1.8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Folks, this is what football is about … Left Side! Strong Side!
Please note the following is not meant to be offensive, even though it might be to some. It is meant to prove a point. Just curious, is it also a 15 yard penalty to use other slurs that insult Whites, Asians, Hispanics, Jews and Muslims in using terms like Cracker, Spic, Kike, Gringo, Mic, Dago, Wop, Frog, Dot Head, Greaser, Half-breed, Camel Jockey, Oreo, Bule, Honkey, Wigger, Sand Monkey, Jap, Chink, Sheep Shagger, Wetback, Slope, Squarehead, Heeb, Polack, Gook, Raghead, Hymie, Guido, Banana, and of course … Redskin. Is the NFL going to penalize the Washington redskins ever time some one on the field says their own teams name? Hmm? What about Cheesehead? It is not just a term used to describe Packer fans, it is actually a derogatory term. I think you get the point of the absurdity of this stupid premise.
So they are going to make the “N” word a 15 yard penalty, what about the other racial black slurs, are they deemed okay to say … like Ape, Boon, Spoon, Shine, Brownie, Crow, Darkie, Eight Ball, Groid, Sambo, Uncle Tom and so on. I think you get the point. Who is to say that one of these racial slurs is more offensive than the next and I did not even scratch the surface of the number of racial slurs that exists out there.
It doesn’t end there, next up will be the LGBT with wanting equal rights and having all gay and homophobic slurs a 15 yard penalty as well. I guess we will need to add these to the list as well.
“I don’t care if you like each other, or not, but you will respect each other, and maybe, I don’t know, we’ll … learn to play this game like men.”
The folks at NBC Sports seem to be following my train of thought. If you penalize one racial slur, then you have to penalize all, otherwise its prejudicial and racist!
Wooten’s comments were strictly about the N-word, but if the NFL is going to implement this rule, other racial slurs would presumably be included as well, along with slurs that are homophobic, sexist or religious in nature.
However, the NFL may find such a rule tougher for its officials to implement than it sounds. Would the NFL provide every player, coach and official with a list of words that can’t be used? And who would determine which words make the list? Some slurs may be considered offensive in some contexts but not in others. Members of a racial or ethnic groups sometimes use slurs among themselves, with no offense intended or taken. If one black player uses the N-word toward another black player, and a white official hears it and throws a penalty flag, that may open a can of worms the NFL would rather avoid.
And, of course, not everyone agrees on what constitutes a racial slur. Some people consider “Redskins” a racial slur. If the NFL is so concerned about policing use of offensive words, why is one of its teams using a name that many people find offensive?
On a person note I have played both high school and college football; however, never being talented enough to play in the NFL. I can say this, that football and sports in general are probably the greatest character builders and environment that brings people together from all walks of life, all races, creeds and colors. You play together as one and it makes no difference what the color is of the individual next to you. The individual next to you and around you is your brother. You sweat, bleed, win, lose, reach the ultimate highs and the ultimate lows … but you do it together as a TEAM that knows no boundaries of colors. That is what football is.