Let Redskins’ owner steer name change

2014-07-02T09:15:00Z Let Redskins’ owner steer name changeCorvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
July 02, 2014 9:15 am  • 

Should the Washington Redskins professional football team change its nickname? Yes. The time has come for the NFL team to change its name to something that isn’t offensive to Native Americans.

But that decision should be made by the owner of the team, Daniel Snyder — and not because the federal government decides which words and terms are offensive or off-limits.

The controversy over the Redskins name has been percolating for decades. (In Oregon, it’s an issue that calls to mind a similar controversy, over whether public high schools should be allowed to use Native American terms for their nicknames.)

Recently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office added new fuel to the Redskins fire by ruling that the name is “disparaging of Native Americans” and should be stripped of trademark protection.

As The Associated Press reported, the

2-1 decision doesn’t directly force the team to abandon the name. But it does add momentum to the campaign to force Snyder to make the change.

The decision from the Patent and Trademark Office has been a long time coming: This case has been kicking around the office since at least 1999, when it made a similar ruling that was overturned on a technicality in 2003.

The Redskins immediately announced plans to appeal the ruling, so it easily could be another decade before the case reaches a resolution. By that time, Snyder may have made the issue moot by deciding to change the name of the team — although he’s been adamant that he has no intention of doing that.

But even Americans who think a change in the team’s nickname is long overdue should pause to consider whether they want the federal government deciding what language is offensive or off-limits.

It’s a point that was made with force and vigor by Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins in a blog she wrote for the newspaper.

It’s true that the law allows the government to deny registration for trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” And it’s also true that denying a trademark is not the same as banning a word or phrase because it’s offensive.

But this still leaves the federal government in a position of deciding what names or language it deems offensive. If that’s a prospect that makes you nervous, well, join the club: Folks as diverse as Fox News commentators and ACLU attorneys share your queasiness.

Over time, we expect that Snyder will bow to what now seems inevitable. But it shouldn’t be because a couple of federal bureaucrats have designated certain words for the trash can.

Copyright 2016 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(23) Comments

  1. dileep
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    dileep - July 07, 2014 4:29 am
    This judgment is actually a DEREGULATION, the act so popular by conservatives in their discussion place. It allows anyone to use that phrase to make reference to anything from sweet peppers and shrimp to apples and kosher wieners. It is just prohibited for Individual Individuals, people JUST LIKE YOU~!
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  2. Losing Ground
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    Losing Ground - July 04, 2014 6:30 pm
    Well none actually. The great ones have and do surge ahead in spite of the overt racists and the covert racists such as yourself.
  3. Austin
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    Austin - July 02, 2014 5:43 pm
    Think you are a bit off, Verita. 5 or 6 years old would be a maturity milestone for this clown.
  4. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 5:37 pm
    Whereas Veritas is nonsensical all the time, must be jealous???

    Drunk again?
  5. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 5:36 pm
    How could it be "thought police" enforcement when Harry the thoughtless criminal is on the loose?

    Does immorality always go hand in hand with hypocritical "incorrect thought"?

    White racism is alive and defended by its progenitors.
  6. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 5:32 pm
    All Hail Thought Police like Harry, immorality in impoverished male form.
  7. captain america
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    captain america - July 02, 2014 3:21 pm
    If you don't like the name, buy them out. Don't watch them, don't support them. I don't like them anyway ( Bronco fan). I think they should load up along with the entire current administration on Air Force one and get the hell out of this country.
  8. Harry Mallory
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    Harry Mallory - July 02, 2014 3:01 pm
    I applaud them for ignoring the bizarre adherent to political correctness imposed by self appointed thought police such as yourself.
  9. Verita
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    Verita - July 02, 2014 2:05 pm
    Seems like every few months the meds run out and he (Will) goes on his nonsensical tirade.
  10. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 1:53 pm
    Isn't it the real point that the G-T can act unilaterally to stop using the term and yet even that small step is being ignored, diverted, and denied to the detriment of our community values?

    And isn't that a reflection of how the failure happens at the larger scale?
  11. Verita
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    Verita - July 02, 2014 1:49 pm
    >”What is it that you are pretending to be so "butt hurt for attention" over then?”

    What are you…5, maybe 6 years old? Might as well have said “I know you are but what am I?” Now run along…you need to clean up your mom’s basement before your it’s nap time.
  12. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 1:01 pm
    What is it that you are pretending to be so "butt hurt for attention" over then?
  13. Austin
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    Austin - July 02, 2014 12:05 pm
    Yes it does. Better than pretending to be all butt hurt for attention about a non-issue (except to self fulfilling victims).
  14. Harry Mallory
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    Harry Mallory - July 02, 2014 11:46 am
    You'e the perfect illustration of the ridiculousness of politically correct thought. Out of the so far 10 comments on this thread, eight of them in favor of enforcing thought control comes from one guy issuing incoherant rants.
  15. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 11:09 am
    That seems fair to you, Autism? ( It's spelled "potatoe", really, Danny Quayle said so)
  16. Austin
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    Austin - July 02, 2014 10:54 am
    Keep the name but change the mascot.....to a red skin potato !!
  17. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 10:52 am
    This ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is actually a DEREGULATION, that type of act so coveted by "conservatives" in their debate position.

    It allows anyone to use that term to refer to anything from peppers and shrimp to potatoes and kosher wieners.

    It is just not allowed for Human Beings, people JUST LIKE YOU~!
  18. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 10:43 am
    ...

    And so how many great Native Americans did you NEVER hear of because we're waiting for a racist to see the light???
  19. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 10:41 am
    O My Goddess~!!!
  20. captain america
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    captain america - July 02, 2014 10:18 am
    She;s BACK!
  21. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 10:14 am
    Retired coach Joe Gibbs reportedly finds the term inoffensive, indeed a source of his personal "pridefulness". (funny how spellcheck thinks I want to write "pitifulness")

    Home fan loyalties are blinding. And yet we often forget how we are perceived elsewhere.

    In 26 other NFL franchise markets, the D.C. team is just one of the despised and ridiculed opponents. Opponents mascots and imagery are ridiculed by fans, including further disparagements, spread throughout America as the D.C. team plays its road season.

    This is just plain unhealthy. In a society suffering from such ills as institutionalized racism, we need a social solution, i.e. news organizations refusing to use the offensive terminology is a viable start.

    How about it, G-T?
  22. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 9:52 am
    At issue with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is USAGE of the term as a trademark, meaning that the Washington NFL franchise does not hold exclusive rights to use that term. The reason being that the term "disparages", degrades the value of, Native American PEOPLE.

    This ruling is actually a DEREGULATION, the act so coveted by conservatives in their debate position. It allows anyone to use that term to refer to anything from peppers and shrimp to potatoes and kosher wieners. It is just not allowed for Human Beings, people JUST LIKE YOU~!

    No government leader has been reported as endorsing any "government action" to force Danny Redskin to change. This is a total red herring thrown out by the hypocritical press, such as George Will and his one-sided "opinion" pieces this newspaper prints in its paper edition..
  23. Azatlani
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    Azatlani - July 02, 2014 9:32 am
    IF WE ALL WAITED FOR DANNY REDSKIN:

    Rosa Parks would still be riding in the back of the bus.

    Nelson Mandela would have died in prison.

    Venus and Serena Williams would be overweight housewives living poverty.

    You would never have heard of Arthur Ashe or Willie Mays.

    Chuck Berry wouldn't have inspired rock and roll.

    Reggae would be confined to Jamaica and the Lesser Antilles.

    Tiger Woods would more likely be a paramilitary organization terrorizing Americans.

    Branch Rickey would be known only as the guy who created the minor league system.

    There'd be the Globe Trotters and there'd be the NBA White Guys.

    And the Browns would be that slang disparager for "Negro" Americans.....

    And so how many great Native Americans did you never hear of because we're waiting for a racist to see the light???
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