The Washington Redskins were dealt a heavy but not knockout blow to their organization. The U.S. Patent office has rescinded their ability to to protect the Trademark for the name “Redskins” Citing that it is “disparaging to Native Americans”.
It was obvious that a move had to be made. For too long this team has been allowed to use what is by definition an ethnic slur. Petitions have been signed. People have spoken out against. The only real way to get corporations attention is to affect their income. Make real strides to affect what type of return they get on their money and they will respond.
For years people knew that Dan Sterling was involved with actions that could lead you to the conclusion that he was lets just say, not pollitically correct. But he made sure to write checks to local organizations to keep the scent off of him. Nobody in the NBA cared enough to do anything about it until his comments became public. Then advertisers started to pull out. Potential earnings were dwindling in a hurry. In a league you are a franchisee subject to the rules of the commissioner and not some sole proprietor. Once other owners felt threatened that their earnings were in danger then and only then did the commisioner step in.
Now we have the U.S. patent office that has made their move. It may be considered a powerful blow but its not the knockout that people were hoping for. Redskins still have the right to appeal. They can still maintain their protection until that appeal is over. There is a chance that they could win. If that is the case then what does the league plan on doing? Do you wait for the result of the appeal or preempt it?
The U.S. patent office for made a bold move that league has not bothered to step in and fix and should be applauded. There is still more work to be done to rid the league of a word that still hurts many people.