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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Redskins name furor about money
Question of the Day
I am not a Redskins fan, but I say it’s about time various groups stopped going on the warpath against Washington’s football team.
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray recently attempted to lure the burgundy and gold back to the District with a stadium deal — if they changed their name. A group of American Indians just argued before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against the long-standing, registered moniker, ostensibly because they find it disparaging. A win would give them a piece of the Dan Snyder revenue pie — unless the appellation is changed. The lack of outrage against equally “offensive” branding — such as Indians and Braves — without trademark protection is telling.
Let’s say the case makes it all the way to the Supreme Court some day. By then, noting that tastes change over time, the sobriquet may not be all that politically incorrect to the complaining population, or to a significant portion of the general public, in a world that is becoming increasingly flat and racially blended. There is an argument to be made that these sports trademarks, some of which date back to the early 20th century, have already acquired a distinctive secondary meaning. They have become a sports brand and are revered. Rather than demeaning, most people would view affinity between the three-time Super Bowl champs and American Indians as flattering.
This is a football team, a form of entertainment uniting fans in a town best recently known for divisiveness and sanitized superficiality. This lawsuit of the perpetual thin-skinned is really about money — more specifically, reparations. This may be the right city, but the Redskins are the wrong defendants. It’s time to stop reopening a centuries-old wound. Time heals all things, if you let it.
KAREN ANN DELUCA
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