WashPost Op-Ed: Redskins name goes before federal trademark board, but for this writer, there’s no debate
I want to see both sides in this. I really do. But two hours after the meaning of the name of Washington’s pro football team was vigorously debated before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board last week in Alexandria, I better understood why I will always be aligned with those who want the name changed. On one side, in the middle of the courthouse’s atrium, stood the well-coiffed, handsome representative of the team, Bruce Allen — son of George, the late legendary coach; ballboy for Sonny and Billy and the rest of the Over the Hill Gang. Bruce has worked for other NFL franchises, but the team’s current general manager has, deep down, always been what he calls a “proud Redskin,” through and through.
The Washington Redskins have been thrust into the heat of a legal dispute over their namesake, and to this point, there has been no public face to represent their opposition. Five plaintiffs have brought the name to the attention of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, now hearing their case contending the name ‘Redskins’ should lose its federal trademark protection, which legally prohibits names that are disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable from being registered.
The Cooperstown Central School Board of Education voted 6-1 Wednesday, March 6, to remove the Redskins mascot from its interscholastic athletic, extracurricular and academic programs. The move was prompted by last month’s vote by the student body, asking that the mascot be changed. The Oneida Indian Nation was so moved by the actions of the Cooperstown students, that a letter by Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter was written to the students, commending their decision and offering to make a contribution to help offset the cost of changing mascots.