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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks 646

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-sure-this-will-pass-without-debate dept.
BillCable writes: Politico reports, "In a major blow to the Washington Redskins, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday canceled six federal trademarks of the 'Washington Redskins' team name because it was found to be 'disparaging' to Native Americans. 'We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,' the PTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board wrote. The panel voted 2-1 in favor of the decision." Perhaps this move will speed up the inevitable name change, which was expected within the next few years."
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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:18PM (#47265805)

    -nt

    • by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:20PM (#47265835)

      Catholics to complain about Cardinals next.

      • by LifesABeach (234436) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @07:28PM (#47267803)
        I've heard that Silcon Valley companies are starting a grass roots campaign against the San Francisco 49er's. Why should people make fun of really really old people?
    • Braves?
      On a legitimate note, who would choose a derogatory name for themselves? I notice that Corporate entity "ProductsThatSuckAndArentVacuums" is still available.
      • by machineghost (622031) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:49PM (#47266205)

        Braves, Indians, etc. are not as offensive as Redskins (and obviously Cardinals doesn't even enter the picture). Brave or Indian means "Native American, the way your ancestors would have referred to them". Redskin means "top of scalp taken from a dead Native American to be turned in for a bounty to the US government (which paid for the murder of Native American men, women and children)".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mythosaz (572040)

          Braves, Indians, etc. are not as offensive as Redskins (and obviously Cardinals doesn't even enter the picture). Brave or Indian means "Native American, the way your ancestors would have referred to them". Redskin means "top of scalp taken from a dead Native American to be turned in for a bounty to the US government (which paid for the murder of Native American men, women and children)".

          Why? Who gets to decide what is and isn't offensive, and to what degree? Unless you're making a case that it's obscene - which would be quite the challenge, since the community standard includes a lot of people wearing team colors/logos for the 'Skins - it "offending you" isn't the basis for anything; and it certainly doesn't offend me.

          • by Aaden42 (198257) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:05PM (#47266379) Homepage

            Who gets to decide? Appointed bureaucrats at the US Patent & Trademark Office. That’s who.

            • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:40PM (#47267359) Journal

              Not really.

              This has several appeals processes to complete before they actually lose trade mark protection if they do not succeed on appeal. So the US Patent & Trademark Office can still be told to shut up.

              • by lgw (121541)

                Actually, this ruling doesn't really matter. You do not need to register a trademark to have a legally defensible trademark! All that was stripped was the registration, not the trademark.

                Registering a trademark means you don't have to prove in court that you're the owner, That's often a big deal, but it's meaningless in this case.

                • by rockout (1039072) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @09:45PM (#47268719)

                  Not completely meaningless. While the registration of the trademark being gone doesn't strip the trademark, it does make it more difficult for the Redskins go after people in court for infringement.

                  I googled right after I typed that last part, because the whole thing gets complicated, but here's the key sentence - "cancellation makes it more difficult to enforce exclusivity under federal law since the Redskins lose legal presumptions, customs and counterfeiting remedies."

                  from this link - http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c... [cnn.com]

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:17PM (#47266519)

            Why? Who gets to decide what is and isn't offensive, and to what degree?

            Haven't you been paying attention? The way it works is as simple as the minds that think this way. These are the general rules:

            1. If you reference a group and their skin color is darker than yours, it's offensive.
            2. The degree of offense is determined by how many shades darker their skin is than yours.
            3. No claim of offense is ever illegitimate. You are to never request proof that any real harm was done. That would be insensitive.
            4. Even if a minority says they hate all whites, they are never racist. If a woman hates all men she is never sexist. But everyone is equal.
            5. Even though an individual can hate themselves genuinely, a black person can never be accused of hating blacks. The n-word is perfectly ok for them no matter how it is used.
            6. Intent is never considered. Rather you will be judged according to a list of words. This way we discount your humanity and at the same time we know exactly how much to hate you.
            7. Individuality is to be ignored. Only group identity matters.
            8. The narrative that every non-white is a poor oppressed victim is never to be questioned. They are never to be held accountable when they make bad choices. Judging them by the same standard you would use to judge whites would be racist. Somehow.
            9. No one belonging to any minority group should ever be encouraged to think about just how insulting and patronizing all of this is. The message that they cannot make it on their own without lots of favoritism and special treatment is a statement of their equality. Somehow.
            10. No one, and I mean no one, who a) claims offense and b) is non-white should EVER under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be told to grow up and get over it.

            Supplemental rule concerning women:
            1. If a woman is offended by anything a man says, the degree of the man's guilt is inversely proportional to how attractive the woman is. If she's a butt-ugly masculine bulldyke looking woman, that makes the man a real asshole.

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:58PM (#47267521) Homepage

              Actually the only question here is what the term "redskins" means in means in historical context. Historically it has been a derisory term, and no-one can really deny that native Americans were derided with it while being oppressed in other ways.

              It's like we generally don't refer to black people as "coloured" any more, because historically it has very negative connotations. Signs with "no coloureds" and the like.

              You can try to play the victim card all you like, but only simple minds are unaware of historical context. Just because an African American became president doesn't erase centuries of wrong doing or change the fact that certain words with historical links to those times are still used widely by racists. I hate to say this but your rant reminds me of that Rodger guy. It's all just a conspiracy against you, nothing to do with your attitude towards other people.

              • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @08:29PM (#47268263)

                Actually the only question here is what the term "redskins" means in means in historical context.

                No, that question is barely relevant. The question is whether the term is regarded as offensive NOW. Historical discussions (some would say unfortunately) are rather irrelevant, because people tend not to care much about history. Your post seems to be an example of this.

                Historically it has been a derisory term, and no-one can really deny that native Americans were derided with it while being oppressed in other ways.

                Nope -- historically, it originated as a translation of terms that Native Americans (or American Indians, if you prefer) used for themselves [slate.com].

                And, I sincerely doubt that even when the sports team named themselves "Redskins" that they wanted to insult themselves with a derogatory term. They presumably meant it as a term to honor the heritage of a strong people (who, by extension, apparently might win at sports competitions). Mostly, the rather novel "offensiveness" of this term was generated after mid-20th century concern about "color" terms regarding race... educated folks stopped using it, leaving it only the choice term of jerks and bigots. It's kind of like "white flight," except in language.

                It's like we generally don't refer to black people as "coloured" any more, because historically it has very negative connotations. Signs with "no coloureds" and the like.

                Wrong again! In the mid-1800s, the word "black" became to be seen as an offensive term, since people generally don't actually have black skin. So, "colored" originated as a polite term which more accurately designated the various skin tones of real people. (It lives on in respectable names of black organizations, like the NAACP, "National Association of Colored People" -- it obviously wasn't offensive back then; it was the most proper term to use.)

                "Colored" gradually gave way to "Negro" ("United Negro College Fund"), which was taken to be a more scientific description of race. Since all the educated folks stopped using the term "colored" (not for any particularly offensive reason), it was only left for hicks in the South -- hence it came to be associated with segregation and eventually became offensive. (Not because it was deliberately used as a slur, but because it became outdated except in regions populated by folks who couldn't keep up with new terms, and often tended to have worse views on race.) Meanwhile, the 1960s saw a decline of "Negro" and a new interest in rehabilitating what had been an offensive slur for over a century: "Black" became the new preferred term of the anti-establishment "Black Power" groups. With "negro" seeming old-fashioned, and some remaining hatred of the old "black" slur, other folks kept searching for something else -- hence "African American."

                And so it goes. In any case, "colored" used to be a respectable term historically. Then it got on the "euphemism treadmill" as educated folk keep fleeing away from previous terms, leaving them only used by uneducated folk, which results in the sentiment that these previously acceptable terms must be offensive.

                You can try to play the victim card all you like, but only simple minds are unaware of historical context.

                Hilarious. Read some history of these terms, if you want (but obviously haven't). Historical context is precisely an argument AGAINST these sorts of politically-correct arbitrary linguistic arguments. Often the history of these terms is much more benign that you might think.

                But none of that really matters -- history is irrelevant in arguments like this. The point is some people find these terms offensive NOW, and if enough people (or enough of the "right people," whomever we think should arbitrate such things) find them offensive, educated folks should change their usage. Language is all arbitrary and a social construct after all -- if its connotations cause enough offense that it ceases to be useful for communication, it needs to change.

                • (Oops -- Obviously NAACP = "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People")
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by whistlingtony (691548)

            who gets to decide? Not you, not the assholes below defending it with snark.

            The person it's deriding gets to decide if it's offensive. That's kind of how it works. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Nigger is a bad word. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Chink is a bad word. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Redskin is a bad word. Etc etc etc... This is plain common sense, and everyone arguing against it is an ass.

            I don't know where this scalping thing is from. Natives were (despite their

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Solandri (704621)

              The person it's deriding gets to decide if it's offensive. That's kind of how it works. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Nigger is a bad word. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Chink is a bad word. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Redskin is a bad word. Etc etc etc... This is plain common sense, and everyone arguing against it is an ass.

              I completely disagree. It's common sense that the person using the word decides if it's offensive. If someone says "negro" referring to the color of a c

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by LocalH (28506)

              The person it's deriding gets to decide if it's offensive. That's kind of how it works. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Nigger is a bad word. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Chink is a bad word. The white guy doesn't get to decide if Redskin is a bad word. Etc etc etc...

              In this day and age, the white guy doesn't get to decide if Cracker is a bad word, either.

          • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:05PM (#47267035)

            "It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?"
            ---Stephen Fry

            • by JosKarith (757063)
              When someone says "I'm rather offended by that" my instinctive response is to say "You're offended by THAT? Well you're gonna get majorly butthurt when I really get going, asshole."
              "I'm offended by that" is very rarely used by someone who is actually hurt by something you've said, instead it's the rallying cry of a certain type of bottom-feeder who is too spineless to stand up for themselves so gets their jollies by claiming offence on other people's behalf.
          • by profplump (309017)

            The person or group being named gets to decide what others should call them. This has been true since time immemorial, and it has always been considered disrespectful to do otherwise. It's particularly offensive when the term being used is itself derogatory, as is the case here.

        • by will_die (586523) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:17PM (#47266521) Homepage
          Actually it was a term indians used to refer to themselves; you can easily find writing from various indian leaders who used the term.
          It took on some negative connotations because it was used then used in various negative works.
          Also the bounty of indian scalps was not done by the US Government it was offered by British and Mexican governments.
          • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:58PM (#47266981)

            Actually it was a term indians used to refer to themselves; you can easily find writing from various indian leaders who used the term.

            Indeed. In fact, the name of the state Oklahoma means "red people" and was suggested by a Native American leader [wikipedia.org]:

            The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw phrase okla humma, literally meaning red people. Choctaw Chief Allen Wright suggested the name in 1866 during treaty negotiations with the federal government regarding the use of Indian Territory, in which he envisioned an all-Indian state controlled by the United States Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Equivalent to the English word Indian, okla humma was a phrase in the Choctaw language used to describe the Native American race as a whole.

            So, the logical question is -- if we are required to change the name of a sports team for referring to the "red skins," shouldn't we also be having a discussion about changing the name of the state Oklahoma?

            • So, the logical question is -- if we are required to change the name of a sports team for referring to the "red skins," shouldn't we also be having a discussion about changing the name of the state Oklahoma?

              Because Oklahoma is not normally considered a pejorative. "Redskin" or "injun" usually are.

              • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @08:16PM (#47268181) Homepage Journal

                So, the logical question is -- if we are required to change the name of a sports team for referring to the "red skins," shouldn't we also be having a discussion about changing the name of the state Oklahoma?

                Because Oklahoma is not normally considered a pejorative. "Redskin" or "injun" usually are.

                That's because English-speaking people generally have no idea what "Oklahoma" originally meant.

                Going down this path could lead to a lot of problems, though, since the terms in most languages for their neighbors would have to be discarded and replaced by something less offensive to the people described.

                Thus, some of my ancestors are Welsh, but they don't call themselves that in the Welsh language, they use forms of the word "Cymru" to refer to their own people. "Welsh" is an old Germanic/Anglo-Saxon word that means "strange" or "foreign" (and still means that in German).

                For that matter, the German language has no word similar to "German"; they refer to themselves with various forms of the word "deutsch" (which is related to "teuton" and bsically just means "people"). But my favorite such term is the Russians' word for Germans: "Nemets". Anyone who has taken first-year Russian understands the derivation of this term: it means "no-mind". It's hardly even phonetically reduced; it's just the word "ne" (negative prefix) plus the word "mets" (mind). (The 'n' and 'm' are soft, FWIW. ;-)

                While it's hard to be more insulting than that, such names for neighbors are quite common around the world. Often the words go back so far that only a few historians understand the insulting origins. (But the Russian term can't be whitewashed; its meaning is clear to even a beginning student of the language.)

                Imagine the fuss if we had to replace all such names that have insulting origins.

        • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:19PM (#47266549) Journal

          Actually, the term "Red skin" was coined by Native Americans, to distinguish between "white skin" and "black skin" people who they met. Of course, scholoarship means nothing when drumming up Faux Outrage in support of some "oppressed people", while ignoring the real oppression (still ongoing) they experience on their "reservations"

          But yeah, keep promulgating the misinformation because the low information voters LOVE IT!

        • by jd2112 (1535857) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:21PM (#47267187)
          PETA suggested changing their logo to a red skinned potato, so they can keep their name and not offend anyone.
          As bad as this idea is, it's probably the best idea PETA has ever had.
    • Braves & Indians too.

      But don't worry, the actual revocation won't happen until all appeals are complete.

      • by tchdab1 (164848)

        Chief Wahoo is pretty insulting.

        • Chief Wahoo is pretty insulting.

          That's your opinion.

          In my opinion there is nothing wrong with Chief Wahoo and the name Redskins. So what make you right and me wrong? And that's the problem here. There is no such thing as a wrong opinion. With all the problems we have in this society, it is absurd that THIS is what people are upset about.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:28PM (#47265925)

        Was calling someone a "brave" considered derogatory? Same with "Blackhawks." Black Hawk was a chief of the Sauk tribe. I doubt he found his name "derogatory." Maybe we aren't reading the summary where it specifically says the problem is the name was deragatory when the trademark was granted. Neither brave nor Blackhawks are considered derogatory.

      • by tchdab1 (164848)

        ...and the tomahawk chop is both insulting and insanely annoying.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)
      I'm not sure that's in the same league as Redskin. The Blackhawks were name after a Sauk chief. Redskin has been a derogatory term for Native Americans.
    • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:30PM (#47265971) Homepage

      The Blackhawks are named after an Army unit, which was named after a guy. There have been protests over the logo, but the name isn't particularly offensive to anyone. There is virtually no chance that any other major team name would be found "disparaging".

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hawk_(Sauk_leader)

  • My two cents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As much as they should change their names, should the USPTO allowed to cancel trademarks which they don't like? What about free speech?

    • not all speech is free. you won't find The Jihad Channel on your local cable box. incendiary or hateful speech is prohibited by any number of state and local ordinances, and various equal rights legislations. fact is, and you can ask multiple schools about their athletic departments, the native American population has had enough, as other people of color have, and they are using all challenges possible to douse the loaded stereotypes. the Washington NFL team has got to change, and the screws are tighten

      • by ganjadude (952775)

        you won't find The Jihad Channel on your local cable box.

        really? al jazera is on time warner ;)

        • by sjames (1099)

          Al Jazera has nothing to do with jihadists. In fact, they offer a welcome fresh perspective.

          • by ganjadude (952775)
            I just addressed that very fact, It was a simple joke. I thought the winky face made that clear. It is in fact better than MSNBC and FOX (i dont even count CNN these days) thats for sure
        • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:04PM (#47266353) Journal

          really? al jazera is on time warner ;)

          1) Joking aside, Al Jazeera America is actually a fairly solid and unbiased source of hard news on subjects outside of the Mideast, and even when the topic is the Mideast, they have been (so far) fairly even-handed. Sometimes it's scary as hell how much less biased they are when you compare them to CNN, MSNBC, Fox, et al. Even covers a lot more topics than the Big Three, which means they carry a wide variety of stories that don't revolve around the latest [Outrage || Scandal]. It's like the BBC, but without the Downton Abbey accents.

          2) In reply to GP: Yes, you certainly CAN have a "The Jihad Channel" on cable if you can get a company to carry it. Now your local cable provider may prohibit it, but that's not a 1st Amendment issue, since the 1st Amendment only restricts government, not private entities.

        • It's Al Jazeera, and it's infinitely better than any US-based news channel.
      • by epyT-R (613989)

        Yeah, and using the law to justify itself is circular logic. Despite all the 'outrage' 'people of color' supposedly have, it doesn't seem to stop them from using 'disparaging' terms such as 'whitey', 'cracker','redneck', 'whitebread', 'whitetrash', etc. Hell, it doesn't even stop them from using 'nigger' (and it's shortened form, 'nigga') when referring to each other, though heaven forbid you use the word if you're white. It's really hard for me to sympathize over something like word use as it (should) o

        • whitey, crackers, or The N Word. So it's not the same. There is only one live US trademark with some form of the N word - the rest are no longer active - so it seems the consistency is there on the part of USPTO. Did you expect an instrument of the US government to continue to approve of something that a class of people find derogatory? White people don't get to overrule what other groups want to be called. Each class gets to decide. And if members of that class are not internally consistent, I may ne
    • Re:My two cents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:28PM (#47265919) Homepage Journal

      There's no free speech issue here. The Redskins can call themselves whatever they want. What they can't do, necessarily, is count upon the full force of government to help them out if they want to prevent other people from using the same term in connection with their business, if they choose to use a particular category of name, as they are doing.

      It's just a Trademark. That's all.

      • Re:My two cents (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hevel-Varik (2700923) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:44PM (#47266157)
        This the Government using its ever increasing means to enforce thought crime. Heresy. Name has been around since 1933. This a means to an end and the end isn't trademark law and you know it. It's a bunch of assholes in a office using the trademark authority of the United States of America to enforce against heresy. You are just spouting talking points.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by uniquename72 (1169497)
          No, he's spouting facts. You're whining about "free speech" because you heard someone of FOX bitching about it earlier today.

          The fact is, the USTR has no choice but to cancel trademark protection for a trademark that has been proven to have been disparaging at the time it was registered. This isn't a new law; just a (semi) new lawsuit.

          Also, it can't possibly be infringing on free speech, because the team is perfectly free to retain the name. They just won't get a government-sanctioned monopoly on it. In
    • Re:My two cents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mellon (7048) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:30PM (#47265969) Homepage

      Trademarks are a constitutionally permitted infringement on free speech. Refusing to alllow a trademark can't possibly infringe on free speech: it does the exact opposite.

      • Unequal application of the law is always a challenge to our freedoms, including free speech. When two men are fighting, you are commiting far less of a crime by pinning both down than by pinning just one down while the other pommels him. If libel laws were "loosened" to apply only to liberals and not to conservatives, that would not be a gain in freedom as you propose: that would become far more of an affront to free spech than the fully implemented law ever was. Allowing trademarks to some and not others

    • Re:My two cents (Score:4, Informative)

      by hey! (33014) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:53PM (#47266949) Homepage Journal

      So what about free speech? They can still call themselves the "Redskins".

      This is about trademarks, and the interests protected are somewhat different than those protected by the First Amendment.

      The Redskins can still sell "Redskins" merchandise -- that's your first Amendment protections at work. What they can't do now is stop other people from using the word "Redskins" on merchandise of the type the Redskins organization sells, licenses or endorses. They may have copyright or trade dress claim if that merchandise borrows too much from their products. I don't know, this touches on areas of IP law which as an IT guy I've never had to worry about.

      The Redskins logo is not affected by this ruling, IIRC. Somebody will have to show that depicting an Indian with feathers is offensive, which is going to be tough. So the Redskins organization retains a monopoly on products bearing their logo. Even if they lose on that they still have copyright on the logo. There may be a few peculiar situations where people can do something under copyright they couldn't do under trademark, because it doesn't involve any actual copying. But their logo T-shirt, beer glass, coaster, key-chain etc. business is perfectly safe.

      So I don't see this development as something that is likely to hit the Redskins football team where it hurts -- in the pocketbook.

  • Not so fast ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by schwit1 (797399) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:22PM (#47265863)

    From Washington Post: Native Americans have won at this stage before, in 1999. But the team and the NFL won an appeal to federal court in 2009. The court did not rule on the merits of the case, however, but threw it out, saying that the plaintiffs didnâ(TM)t have standing to file it. The team is likely to make the same appeal this time.

    That took 10 years

    • by synapse7 (1075571)

      What about all the baseball teams with Native American names, I thought one of the teams was going further to "embrace" the tribal name, but I forget the details...

  • by Motard (1553251) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:24PM (#47265873)

    Get 'em while they're hot. Official (looking) Redskin Jerseys.

    We will also make complete Redskins uniforms for you little league team.

    Call Q.T. Industries - Beijing.

  • They just need to become the Washington Redskin Potatoes. Problem solved, and with a little butter and some salt, you've got a hearty side dish.
  • I just dont get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:24PM (#47265885) Homepage
    Liberals are always talking about live and let live. they get all upset when people dont respect their lifestyle. but at the same time they attack those who they disagree with

    I am of native descent. The onodaga tribe in NY is where I live. Not one person here that I know is offended by the name the redskins. We are more offended by the liberal white man pretending to be offended in our name. I am sure there are other natives who disagree with me but what happened to live and let live. If you dont like it, root for the other team! simple as that! I am more offended as a native by the cowboys (americas team) and the yankees than I am the redskins or braves
    • by rokstar (865523)
      I would suggest you look at the plaintiffs in the case before you start arguing that these were 'liberal white men' pretending to be offended.
      • by ganjadude (952775) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:30PM (#47265963) Homepage
        I would suggest you look at the people behind the token natives being pranced up there. A few of them are from where I live and guess what, they are not in good standing in the area any longer because they are being paid to pretend to be outraged right now.
        • by medv4380 (1604309)
          Ah, a no true Scotsman Fallacy. Grats.
    • That's what I get from Native Americans I know -- they don't give a rip about sports team names. They've told me the only ones that make a noise about this are "Professional Indians". (They say with a grimace of distaste.)

      Basically, I don't much care, because I despise all professional sports equally, but I don't have any evidence for the claim that actual Native Americans find the team name offensive, and I do have evidence otherwise.

    • Full of shit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:10PM (#47266433) Homepage Journal

      Not one person here that I know is offended by the name the redskins

      The general counsel for the Onondaga Nation is rather offended by it:

      http://www.syracuse.com/news/i... [syracuse.com]

      Your "spiritual leader" is no fan of it either:

      http://www.syracuse.com/kirst/... [syracuse.com]

      So I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're full of shit. What's up with your spelling of "onodaga" anyway?

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:14PM (#47266477) Journal

      I am more offended as a native by the cowboys (americas team) and the yankees than I am the redskins or braves

      Trust me, after last year's performance, *everybody* is offended by the Cowboys.

    • by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:39PM (#47266777) Homepage

      The moment you begin a sentence with "Liberals" or "Conservatives" is the moment I stop reading. If you can't think on a higher plane than that kind of pointless labelling, then your comments are not interesting and will be ignored.

      And yes, I literally stopped reading at the first word of your sentence (OK actually I read "Liberals are always", so I guess I read three).

  • I vote for the Washington Inoffensives. But I thought the Bullets should be renamed the Fluffy Bunnies. Nobody pays attention to me.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @04:33PM (#47266021) Homepage
    I'm part "Native American", enough to join the tribe if I wanted. But I refuse to be associated with a people who are so thin-skinned that they get offended at the drop of a hat. Yes, "redskin" WAS a term of derision, but it's been turned into a better word, a word to be proud of, a word of honor.

    If we have to change the name of the Washington Redskins, I say we change all the names of things in this country that have native origins. Just think of how many states, cities, counties, rivers, mountains and such have native-derived names. Fuck it! Change ALL of them!
    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:01PM (#47266335) Homepage Journal

      I'm part "Native American", enough to join the tribe if I wanted. But I refuse to be associated with a people who are so thin-skinned that they get offended at the drop of a hat. Yes, "redskin" WAS a term of derision, but it's been turned into a better word, a word to be proud of, a word of honor.

      RTFS - it's not the tribes who are complaining, it's the federal government. Specifically, the Patent Office.

      As a similarly-ancestored individual (my great-grands were both Blackfoot), I'd like to point out that this is the same federal government that broke all treaties, took our lands, destroyed our crops, herds, and way of life, displaced, separated, and outright murdered our families... and they think we give a shit about sports team names?

      That is fucking offensive.

  • No laws have changed, but what was once perfectly acceptable — indeed, a registered trademark — no longer is. And the other way around.

    "Redskins" are just a name, but there are worse signs of the changes... For example, University of Hawaii recently prohibited a student group to hand-out copies of the Constitution [moonbattery.com]. The administrators' reasoning was: "This isn’t really the ’60s anymore" and "people can’t really protest like that anymore".

    Obviously, the First Amendment has not changed in 50 years, it is just being reinterpreted. And so is the understanding of "disparaging".

  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:18PM (#47266531)

    “This decision is a step forward for Indian Country & for all Americans who champion tolerance.”

    Since when does tolerance == anti-bigotry? It seems to me like they're not being very tolerant of bigotry. Has this now become one of those words that doesn't really mean what it really means, like "organic" or "chemical?" I mean, I'm pretty tolerant of people of different races, sexual orientations, nationalities, etc, but I'm intolerant of bigots, assholes, idiots, liars, people driving slow in the left lane, and a variety of others. So, I don't consider myself tolerant, but I do consider myself to be anti-bigotry, and I'm having a bit of a tough time reconciling these terms.

  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:21PM (#47266583)
    I can understand some native americans being upset about this kind of names, and I can also understand others (posting above) saying they don't care. What I find strange is that people usually want to name their teams something positive and powerful (other than frat league when you name your team the Nads so that people can cheer Go, Nads!). The various Indian-themed sports team names were all intended to be powerful positive *winning* labels, not insults, to the teams they were being applied to; and by inference positive references, not insults, to their namesakes. Consider how strange it is to name your new team after what was once considered a hated enemy - who lost! Clearly the might and power of that enemy is being honored to some degree. (Though George Carlin might compare it to suburbs where we cut down all the trees and then name the streets in their memory.)
  • Who are you? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @07:08PM (#47267617)

    My great grandfather was Mohawk. I typically say I'm part Mohawk, not indian or native American.

    What is going on is the idea that a race of people were/are in the process of genocide against the native population of a continent for over 500 years. The whites have dehumanized the various peoples to the point where individual customs and ways are nothing more than trendy new-age fads. Rather than a proud people, the whites depict them as mascots and comic book characters. When they take offense to being dehumanized, they are told to get over it.

    The whites did not win the Americas (stupid name), it was the european diseases that did. If the natives were not in decline because of new diseases, the europeans would never have token hold. The whites merely capitalized on continent wide pandemic that they brought here.

    So, if the people who had democratic representation and centralized trade routes BEFORE the magna carta, whos only offense is being in the way of white european aggression, say stop dehumanizing them, maybe it would be a good gesture.

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