For the second time in 15 years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is attempting to drop the Washington Redskins’ trademarks. It’s another example of bureaucracy run amok, with the government interfering in a matter that has nothing to do with its day-to-day operations.
Like many others, I would prefer the Redskins kept their original nickname. It’s an important part of the storied football team’s legacy and history. In my view, a “Redskin” symbolizes the positive virtues of strength, courage and a warriorlike spirit on the gridiron. They’ve used it successfully for more than 80 years, leading to 23 playoff appearances and five NFL championships, including three Super Bowl victories.
The Redskins will fight this abhorrent decision in the courts. My guess is they’ll win a costly legal battle and sometime down the road, have to do it all over again.
It’s clear some people are going to get constantly worked up about this issue. If that’s the case, I have an amusing suggestion for Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. It would involve a name change, but one that honors the legacy of a beloved U.S. president.
There was a lighthearted proposal on social media to change the team’s name from “Washington Redskins” to “Washington Reagans.” Andrew Kaczynski, a staff writer for the news and entertainment website BuzzFeed, included a quote from Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist, who called it a “great idea” and “fun to consider,” if nothing else.
This idea isn’t being seriously considered, of course. But if people keep getting their knickers in a knot about the Redskins’ trademarks every 10 or 15 years, why not change the team’s name to the Reagans?
For one thing, it would be the ultimate tribute to Ronald Reagan. Many Americans, and the vast majority of conservatives, would applaud this decision. He was a great man, a great patriot and a great president. If there was ever a world leader who deserved to have his name associated in a positive fashion with a sports team, it would be Reagan.
There is also a historical tie between the late, great president and the game of football.
In his autobiography “An American Life” (1990), the former president discussed his days as captain of his high school football team. He played tackle and guard, and personally described it as “probably a marriage made in heaven.” In his view, it was “as fundamental as anything in life — a collision between two bodies, one determined to advance, the other determined to resist; one man against another man, blocking, tackling, breaking through the line.”
When Reagan attended Eureka College in Illinois, he played guard on the varsity football team — and lettered three times. He also starred in the 1940 biographical film “Knute Rockne: All American” as George Gipp. (If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of Reagan’s popular campaign slogan “Win one for the Gipper,” look no further.)
Meanwhile, Mr. Snyder is a well-known Republican in NFL circles. He donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and has also reportedly given money to George Allen’s Virginia Senate campaign and to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Only a conservative would ever honor Reagan’s legacy with this type of tribute, and Mr. Snyder appears perfectly suited to do it.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, how could the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office argue with this new nickname?
Remember, Democratic presidents have been tied to the two attempts to change the Redskins’ trademarks.
Bill Clinton was in office during the 1999 publicity stunt, which was later overturned in the federal court. While it’s unclear who is behind this current farce, many speculate it came from higher up the political food chain. As mentioned in The Washington Times’ June 19 editorial, “President Obama suggested in October that the football team should ‘think about changing’ its name, and here we are in June, and the administration is trying to force it to comply. Funny how that works.”
Democrats want Washington’s NFL team to change its name. The Redskins’ owner, Mr. Snyder, is the only person who can rightfully do this. Hence, if he chooses to comply and pays homage to a Republican president in the process, they’re stuck with it. Any further complaints would smack of political partisanship.
If I were advising Mr. Snyder, I’d tell him to do it — either temporarily or permanently. The political left’s reaction to their game-ending fumble would be priceless.
Michael Taube is a contributor to The Washington Times.