By Kaleb Page
February 26, 2015
For the owner of the Washington professional football team, Dan Snyder, there is a big issue surrounding his long-standing team. The team name has drawn much fire over the past few years and more recently has seen a spike in attention.
The team name as many know is the Washington Redskins. To many (if not all) in the Native American community this term ‘redskin’ is seen as a racial slur. The battle has waged on with not only prominent Native American representatives but also the U.S. government with the owner Snyder.
This past year the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark with the reasoning being that it may be offensive to Native Americans. This ruling was a big blow to the brand that has been around the NFL for decades. Ultimately making the logo, name, etc. something to be freely marketed upon with no need to recognize the formal organization that is the NFL team.
This past Monday, court papers were filed by lawyers representing the team to fight the original ruling saying that the decision to cancel the trademark violates the first amendment right of free-speech and unfairly singles the team out.
The quote from the lawyers taken by the Associated Press essentially states that the court acted unfairly by picking sides.
“For disfavored treatment based solely on the content of its protected speech, interfering with the ongoing public discourse over the Redskins’ name by choosing sides and cutting of the debate.” – Team Attorneys
I find it interesting that this topic is kind of under the radar right now. I know that it is not football season and with ‘March Madness’ and other sports ramping up it can be lost in the mix. However, this debate and finale ruling could be huge in either direction.
This battle between owner Dan Snyder and the government/Native American community is dragging out and it seems like no end is in sight. Which could be something where we don’t see a final say so or even change for many years down the road.
Since I am neither a Native American or Washington Redskins fan, I don’t have a true stake in the matter. I do see the side of the Native Americans with having the name changed since it is offensive to them and there are thousands of other choices for mascots.
Likewise, I do see the whole side of the team saying the term in this context is not intended to offend. I don’t think you necessarily pick a mascot to be offensive or to be something that you think is an unworthy representative of your team.
Then again it probably easier for me to say since I am not in the shoes of Native Americans that are truly offended by the name. Ultimately even though I don’t have a personal stake in the matter, I do think the name change needs to be made.
Mr. Snyder, make the change…now.
Above I put a more serious debate on the issue of the name, but below this is a video done by The Daily Show with a serious look at the issue while still giving a bit of satire toward the stance of Snyder and the organization.