The Washington Redskins have had six trademarks cancelled…
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The Washington Redskins, who have held their trademarked franchise name since 1937, could be forced into a change after continued debate regarding the offensive nature of their title.
Last week, the US Patent and Trademark office cancelled six of the trademarks belonging to the Redskins. They issued a similar ruling in 1998, but on that occasion their decision was reversed on appeal.
The BBC have reported that proponents of a name change are heralding the latest decision as a possible turning point that will force team owner Daniel Snyder’s hands. Although the 49-year-old is still likely to appeal any decision.
In addition, political attitudes towards the name have grown even more severe over the last 16 years, as New York Times writer Damon Darlin explains: “It’s hard to view the new ruling as anything other than the beginning of the end of the name.
“It has now been assailed not just by Native American groups but by the president of the United States and half the Senate, which ultimately controls the various tax and legal advantages the NFL enjoys. Players in football and many other sports are now routinely asked their view of the name, and their evident discomfort with it is rising.”
Don Shelton, the sports editor of the Seattle Times, added that the name was: “absurd, offensive and outdated.” The Times, along with fellow media outlets the San Francisco Chronicle, the Orange County Register, the Oregonian and the Washington City Paper, have decreed they will no longer use the Redskins nickname.
Ultimately, a Redskins name change likely will come down to public opinion and market forces. If the campaign is successful, the name-change ruling could come to apply for other teams, such as the University of Notre Dame, who are known as the “Fighting Irish” – which some observers argue portrays a negative Irish stereotype.