Redskins players and officials reacted to Wednesday’s ruling by the United States Patent and Trademark Office that the team’s name is offensive to Native Americans and canceling its trademark registrations.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board vacated six trademarks employing the term “Redskins.” Washington owner Daniel Snyder would not comment to reporters after Wednesday’s minicamp practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn.
“It’s sad, but like I said before it’s something that I can’t control so I’m going to leave it alone,” wide receiver Santana Moss said. “I hope the best for it because I feel like, as a Redskin, I don’t think that we wore this name trying to bring any harm to anybody. A lot of us out here as players didn’t know of the history or nothing like that and we’ve been kind of privileged to get a little bit of insight on some of the history and just with that you still don’t know enough.”
Washington team president Bruce Allen told The Washington Post that “we’re fine” in regards to the trademark ruling, which would prevent the team from exclusive use of the name “Redskins”.
Safety Ryan Clark, who began his career with the Redskins before returning this season, declined to comment on the ruling: “That’s on them, brother. I’m a football player.”
“l don’t really know anything about that,” quarterback Robert Griffin III said. “Our jobs as players is to focus on what we can on this field day in and day out and let the league take care of that stuff. And when it’s the right time then we can voice whatever it is that we know about the situation.”
The Redskins will appeal the ruling, according to Bob Raskopf, the team’s trademark lawyer. The trademark registrations will remain effective while the case is on appeal. Raskopf also said in a statement that the ruling simply addresses the team’s federal trademark registrations and that “the team will continue to own and be able to protect its marks without the registrations.”
Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of corporate communications, said via email that the league had no comment on the ruling beyond Raskopf’s statement from the Redskins.
“For the years that we have worn it and for the Super Bowls that they’ve brought to this organization, I hope that it hasn’t offended anybody to that matter to where it have to get too serious to where we can’t no longer have that logo or that name on our chest,” Moss said. “But at the end of the day, man, I just hope for the best for it because as players we don’t know what’s going on. All we can do is go out here and keep representing.”