So Dan Snyder’s efforts to thumb his nose at the growing and overwhelming sentiment that the nickname of his NFL sports franchise needs to be buried as an obvious racial slur just took a hit in the one place likely to get his attention: the wallet. A report from WaPo’s Theresa Vargas has the basics:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans….”
The ruling does not mean that the Redskins have to change the name of the team. It does affect whether the team and the NFL can make money from merchandising because it limits the team’s legal options when others use the logos and the name on T shirts, sweatshirts, beer glasses and license plate holders.
But then there’s this:
Native Americans have won at this stage before, in 1999. But the team and the NFL won an appeal to federal court in 2009. The court did not rule on the merits of the case, however, but threw it out, saying that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to file it. The team is likely to make the same appeal this time.
I’m not sure to what we may attribute the obdurate resistance of Snyder and his defenders to this rather obvious step. Some people, of course, have become so obsessed with attacking “political correctness” that they’ve forgotten the “correctness” of plain civility. There was grumbling, too, when DC’s NBA franchise changed its name from “Bullets” to “Wizards,” but nothing on this level.
In any event, this news will stimulate new suggestions for a new Washington nickname, both serious and jocular. My semi-serious suggestion is that the team become the Washington Politicos, with Fed Ex Field’s name changed to This Town Stadium, where every seat is in a skybox. Your offerings are welcome in the comment thread.