Washington Redskins Lose Ruling on Trademarks

Bad news for Dan Snyder, owner of Washington’s NFL franchise, as reported in The New York Times:

On Wednesday, a division of the federal government ruled that the Redskins name was disparaging. The team was stripped of federal protections for six of its trademarks.

If the ruling stands, then the loss of the trademarks means that anyone can manufacture and sell team merchandise without a license, which in turn means that the brand value will plummet, effectively canceling any reason to hang on to this frankly embarrassing moniker. It won’t be soon enough for me.

I grew up just outside of Washington, D.C., so I feel a vague personal connection to this story. What I remember from my exposure to the controversy as a kid was that, among locals, there was never a doubt that the name was racist at all. Everyone knew it was, and that it was actually kind of a horrible thing to have a team with that name. But there was just a collective disinterest in whether it actually offended anyone or not—basically few in the area cared at all.