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Redskins No More

Well, it's official. Washington announced they have retired the Redskins name and logo. No word yet on what the new name will be, as it is apparently tied up in some sort of trademark legislation. Which means someone else beat Daniel Snyder to the trademark.

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124 comments, Last at 17 Jul 2020, 2:01pm

1 Or else...

...it is apparently tied up in some sort of trademark legislation. Which means someone else beat Daniel Snyder to the trademark.

... he might have doubled down with some other racist or race-related name, and run afoul of trademark law that way. 

Washington Palefaces?

2 GO SQUIRRELS !!!   Seriously…

GO SQUIRRELS !!!

 

Seriously though says everything about Snyder that he changed the name when money became the issue.   I've always been been surprised he didn't see it as an opportunity to sell a whole load of new merchandise.

Also removes the link to the franchise's glory years under Gibbs.

 

 

26 Not literally but mentally…

Not literally but mentally or metaphorically or whatever the correct term is.

Snyder grew up watching the Redskins success under Gibbs and part of keeping the name has been about piggybacking those glory days.  Everything that happens under the Squirrels name is pure Snyder.

42 I always got the impression…

I always got the impression he was trying to leverage the name change into a new/better publicly-financed stadium deal, somehow. These types of articles have been popping up regularly basically throughout his entire ownership tenure, and while he's staked out a strong position on the issue - "There's so much money in the brand! Also something something tradition something." - he obviously wants a free new stadium - that's how franchise values jump way up - and it seemed like something he figured he could "concede" on in return for a larger cut of parking revenues or whatnot. Then he gets all that new merchandise revenue afterward, too.

Looks like he overplayed his hand. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

73 That's a good point…

That's a good point.

Incidentally the highlight of that linked article is that he blames sagging attendances on the stadium.  *snort*   Always pointing the finger somewhere else.

81 I'd forgotten how bad Snyder…

I'd forgotten how bad Snyder was in the 00s until I reread this article from ten years ago

https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/article/13039846/the-cranky-redskins-fans-guide-to-dan-snyder

Trying every way possible to squeeze money out people. I'm shocked at some of the stuff he's tried to pull.

And in football terms, five winning seasons in twenty years. I didn't realise how bad they've been.

No wonder attendances are down.

86 Joe Gibbs' second stint as…

Joe Gibbs' second stint as Washington HC is largely forgotten about, but he managed two of those winning seasons (out of four coached), including the only playoff victory of the Snyder era. That really only enhances his reputation. 

3 As one of the FO community's…

As one of the FO community's most prominent (former) Washington fans, let me say this:

The name change is long past due. I stopped rooting for the team due to football reasons (the last straw was the Scot McCloughan fiasco when it became clear that the people in charge of the franchise would chose shooting themselves in the foot over winning games every time, although I had already permanently soured on the team during the miserable 2014 season). However, I was uncomfortable with the name long before that, and tended to abbreviate it to 'Skins in writing (not much better, I know!). I welcome the name change and I hope that they are planning to move away from the distasteful and demeaning Native American theme as well (unless they chose to honor a specific Native American hero such as Red Cloud, with the blessing of the relevant tribal leaders).

5 Long time 'Skins fan... and am happy to see the change

I grew up a Redskins fan, a long, long time ago. I always experienced the name in the context of old-time Westerns and kids playing "Cowboys and Indians". As such, while it is possible to see the name as not intentionally hateful, its time has long past. Good riddance to the name... There's no excuse to keep it in this century, and should have been ditched long before now.

I am glad to hear the logo is been retired, too. I was worried they would try some lame half-measure. A clean break is best.

 

 

 

47 The logo was actually…

The logo was actually designed by a Blackfeet Nation leader who designed it after the Buffalo head nickel. It's actually sad that it's being lost because Snyder was such a dork about the whole thing.

There are ways to have Native American imagery done right - the Seminoles come to mind, for instance. But the fact that Washington didn't transition a long time ago to something positive just underscores how frustrating Snyder's response about the whole thing is.

8 Washington Generals?

Snyder reportedly wants a military themed name.  They could be working out a deal with the Globetrotters to get rights to the Washington Generals.  It would kind of fit their recent success on the field as well...

(I always assumed that Washington Generals was both a reference to the Joint Chiefs and General George Washington.   They could then hire Lin Manuel Miranda to adapt parts of Right Hand Man as a new fight song).

13 I've seen that as a likely…

I've seen that as a likely name, but I hope it's not. To me it just sounds like the name of the opposing team in some early 2000s football movie. It has connections to the area and US history, but it's just so bland.

15 I've always liked regional…

I've always liked regional themes for names. Not to further pick on the Lions but man, it's the kind of name a 6 year old comes up with, especially since Detroit does have a lot of distinctive themes.

21 Detroit is famous worldwide…

Detroit is famous worldwide for it's native species of large cats.

I live in Colorado Springs, and in Garden of the Gods, one of the rock features is named the Kissing Camels. I absolutely despise the name, because there are obviously no camels native to North America. The name is dated; we know it's not the original name, because it had to have been named some time after camels were common knowledge here. 

If it was the Detroit Bobcats, or something at least native to this continent, it would make more sense to me

29 The Panthers and Wolverines…

The Panthers and Wolverines were already defunct Detroit NFL franchises by the time the Spartans moved to Detroit and changed their name. Apparently they thought local college football team nicknames were jinxed, and switched away from the Spartans (MSC, now MSU, adopted it in 1925).

Camels actually evolved in the new world and migrated backwards across the land bridge. The last NA camels died out around the time of the last ice age, along with most NA megafauna.

\wolverines are also extirpated in Michigan
\\Long before the Harbaugh years, I mean

24 So you think the 49ers,…

So you think the 49ers, Packers, saints, and Steelers have the best names?  Or slightly more broad regionalization that includes the jets, broncos, dolphins, chiefs, Vikings, Ravens, cowboys?  Do the Seahawks, and Patriots get credit?

I happen to agree in principal, but tend to prefer the first group to the second. And the Texans are an abomination, while the oilers were fantastically cool.

27 Yes and yes. I agree with…

Yes and yes. I agree with everything you said. I'm ok w animal names as long as they reflect the region in some capacity, like the team I root for.

 

But I think the Packers and Steelers are the best names in the history of the sport because they capture the essence of the region in their names( at least at the time, Pittsburgh has evolved from the steel days). 

 

And yes the name Texans is lame, totally unimaginative.

28 I'd say Generals would be a…

I'd say Generals would be a terrible choice given that the USFL had a "NY/NJ Generals" franchise owned by a certain person.

That said, might well explain the trademark issue.

30 The obvious solution would…

The obvious solution would be to just complete the name transfer and become The Washington Reds (blending the (Boston) Red Sox with the Braves is how we ended up with the Redskins in the first place).

You can keep essentially everything except the logo that way. This would also involve some trademark issues (Cincinnati, but let's amuse ourselves and consider Cornell and Faygo, too -- all three play better football than Washington does).

But of course it's the Generals, because Snyder gives the Lake Erie teams a run for their money on those worst-owner lists.

9 The name is a disgraceful,…

The name is a disgraceful, but I kind of like the idea of keeping the native American theme.

 

Native Americans are a part of US history and there is a lot of positive themes associated with the culture. 

 

I myself am partial to the Red Clouds or something along those lines.

36 It isn't but it should be…

It isn't but it should be here ... ... https://web.archive.org/web/20131030155158/http://miketanier.sportsonearthblog.com/the-washington-red-clouds/

 

Written on Oct 14th 2013 - Washington Compromise 

11 Congratulations, white saviors

A reminder that literally every legitimate poll conducted on the subject -- i.e., a scientific poll conducted by a polling firm, not a web poll of the subscribers to an advocacy magazine -- has shown over 90% of American Indians did not have a problem with the name.

70 Your response says nothing,…

In reply to by spybloom

Your american identity politics is so FUBAR that I don't know if the name is considered offensive to native americans by non-native americans, or by native americans. 

 

14 That may be true, but it has…

That may be true, but it has always attracted negative attention and frankly the name is connotatively negative.

I am inwardly disappointed that Washington will expunge all Native American themes altogether just to placate the mob.

22 Oh please, enough with the…

Oh please, enough with the nonsense.  Yes, there have been polls to suggest varying degrees of concern about the name.  You find a few to support your position and want to call them the only legitimate ones and denigrate all the others, fine.  

That doesn't change that native American organizations have been advocating for this name change for a long time.  You want to pretend it's a white, liberal conspiracy, enjoy your delusion.  My understanding is that most broad-based Native American representatives have been unequivocal that this is a denigrating name and should be changed. 

32 Show me a poll with…

Show me a poll with respondents limited to people with actual citizenship in a Native tribe, and not "self-identified" Native Americans (most of whom have no connection to any tribe or Native culture, and are not actually Native Americans), and I might take it seriously. 

Not trying to break Rule #1, but if you think Elizabeth Warren was wrong to identify herself as a Native American, you have no business citing these polls.

Then there's the fact that even if most Native Americans aren't offended, the word and imagery is still demeaning and should still be changed.

84 No one ever said you need…

No one ever said you need the approval of anyone. You should, however, make sure that you don't have extreme disapproval from any of them, to the point where using the name would lead to a sustained campaign against it. It's like if Minnesota called their team the "Rapin' Vikings", and the Scandinavian countries said "uh, hey... maybe you should y'know, drop the first part of that, cuz, it's... evil?" and Minnesota responded "NEVER" and then put out a documentary on how the name is a great celebration of Scandinavian culture.

This is the difference. Again, the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma disapproves of FSU's use of Seminoles, but there's no growing pressure to change the name there. Why is that? Because FSU engages with the Seminole Nation of Florida and has always been responsive to them.

It's really not the name. It's the attitude.

89 In a direct parallel, there…

In a direct parallel, there was the Fansided article about whether Notre Dame should change its name as well, and of course there was strong backlash against that article as well. There's nothing wrong with the *article* - raising the question is always fine. But the question is where it grows from there, and really, it's not going to grow at all.

71 So, if Redskin is not…

So, if Redskin is not considered a slur by Native Americans, is it ok then?

And why is everyone still allowed to type, post and print the word 'Redskin'? I mean I'm not allowed to say the N word. If I typed it, it'd probably be redacted or blocked entirely. Because that actually IS a slur and will get you fired from you job even using it in a completely harmless situation.

79 Well, the cynic would say…

Well, the cynic would say that if Native Americans made up 14% of the population and 70% of the NFL, and African Americans made up 0.8% of the population and Sam Bradford & Keenan Allen, the relative taboo-ness of those terms might be reversed.

The real cynic might say that if George Preston Marshall named his team the Boston N*****s, Coons, Brownskins, Spearchuckers, or some other reprehensible epithet, with a brown-skinned savage with a loincloth and spear as a mascot who Marshall claimed to be Congolese, people may have been able to speak and write those words in a certain context for a little while longer than we'd now think appropriate or decent.

33 The Native View.

Given there's a school in the Navajo Nation that I have seen with my own eyes in the last year that has a football stadium with the phrase "Home of Redskins" on it I would say that's accurate.  Also the other reason the natives can't get themselves worked up about this is that they have many, many more important things to deal with than what a sports team calls itself.  Such has horrible health care and equally horrible health problems - Covid is devastating the Navajo and diabetes + its associated complications is very common. Also general neglect - they know their lives don't matter because they don't have enough votes or influence to swing elections and while lots of people are willing to get worked up about team nicknames, as far as I can tell none of them are willing to work for things that will actually give them material help.

38 I am curious as to why you…

In reply to by serutan

I am curious as to why you draw the conclusion that they think their lives don't matter because they don't have enough votes or influence to swing elections. This same theory never applied to scores of minorities who came to this country. Asians, Middle Easterner's, and Jews all came as minorities; the latter in particular has been accused as hidden overlord's of society by a few prominent athletes recently. 

 

95 "This same theory never…

"This same theory never applied to scores of minorities who came to this country. Asians, Middle Easterner's, and Jews all came as minorities; the latter in particular has been accused as hidden overlord's of society by a few prominent athletes recently."

+1

Where I live comments on job postings "Irish need not apply" are within living memory. The only institutional memory of the period is the St. Patrick's day perade.

102 Guys, there are hundreds of…

Guys, there are hundreds of years of history that need to be accounted for if you're going to compare the situation for Native Americans to that of other minority groups in the United States. Consider the fact that they didn't start out as a minority group.

103 There is a cause and effect…

There is a cause and effect relationship being discussed here. Does being an extreme minority cause the minority to become hopeless and disillusioned because of a lack of representation? There's no evidence to suggest this claim is correct.

 

the next cause and effect question is does being an oppressed minority for an extended period of time cause hopelessness and disillusionment?

 

I hear this argument all the time but I don't find evidence for it either. As I mentioned above, Jews have been oppressed and persecuted across many nations in some of the most extreme ways and yet you don't see their communities have any of the pathologies that the Native American communities have. There's been histories of oppression in India and Africa and in Asia, but none of those groups exhibit the pathologies that the Native Americans exhibit.

There are economic articles going over life on a Native American reservation. Let's just say the conclusions they reach on why the current generation is suffering do not involve legacies of oppression and murder.

 

Without turning this into a bleeding heart post, I find it a terrible tragedy what has been done to the natives in this country, first from direct murder and plunder followed by payments of guilt.

106 +1

"... There's no evidence to suggest this claim is correct." +1

This is a subject too off track for this forum - but the comparative analysis, both within America and around the world, is definitely apt for understanding the situation.

48 Here, let me rewrite that…

Here, let me rewrite that for you:

"A reminder that literally every legitimate poll conducted on the subject -- i.e., a scientific poll conducted by a polling firm, not a web poll of the subscribers to an advocacy magazine -- has shown" that millions of American Indians have a problem with the name.

Why exactly do percentages matter? A huge number of people are offended by it. Why isn't that enough?

52 A huge number of people are…

A huge number of people are offended by it. Why isn't that enough?

I would think problems with this line of thinking would be trivially obvious.

There are 330 million Americans. You can find a million adherents to any damned thing, no matter how stupid, evil, or pernicious.

56 "I would think problems with…

"I would think problems with this line of thinking would be trivially obvious. There are 330 million Americans. You can find a million adherents to any damned thing, no matter how stupid, evil, or pernicious."

This isn't about finding something that a million people believe. This is about finding something that a ton of people believe in strongly enough to demand change for, and maintain that demand for many years. 25 tribes have called for the Washington team to change its name, and over 50 Native American organizations, as well as many other civil rights organizations.

I don't get why it matters what some polling percentage is. A large number of people have said "hey, this is offensive to us," many others have looked into it and said "yeah, they're right." The fact that other people have said they're not offended doesn't mean they *support* the name.

65 I don't think it's a fixed…

I don't think it's a fixed limit. Football's a national sport, so anything that gains sustained attention nationally is certainly sufficient. But obviously if some local business is found offensive to enough people locally that the local residents are aware of it, the criticism's worth listening to.

I mean, to be clear, I don't blame Dan Snyder for not immediately changing the name as soon as he bought the team, even though there have been protests against the team nationally as far back as 1988. But by 2013 it was obvious that the pressure was only building, to the point where Snyder had his wacko insane outburst.

That's kinda the point. If a term really isn't offensive, the backlash against it won't be sustainable, and possibly more importantly, responses from those using the term won't be hostile and hollow. Again, Florida State's a good example here - there *are* people who are offended by FSU using the Seminole name, but Florida State's engagement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida just undercuts that.

So in some sense, the response isn't even entirely about the name: it's about the fact that Snyder and the team were so completely dismissive of the idea that it could be a problem. Note that what I said was that if you've got a significant enough number of people saying they're offended, you should at least *listen*, and Snyder never did that.

72 I'm not even for or against…

I'm not even for or against a name change.

My question is. What does it matter if people are offended? People are always offended. 

Is it good taste? No. Is it the best name ever? No. Was the name chosen in a villainous way? No. 

 

83 "My question is. What does…

"My question is. What does it matter if people are offended?"

Because it's a business? If enough people hate the name of a business and say "we won't come here or do business with you" due to the business's name, obviously as the owner, you should change it. Because otherwise, when the pressure keeps building and you don't, you look like an idiot.

It's not like we're talking about having to run names by some sort of Acceptance Committee first or something. People have been protesting against the name since the late 80s. The number of organizations calling for it has been growing constantly. Washington's response to it was embarrassingly bad. Anyone with any sane business sense would've been able to predict how this was going to go end up very shortly into the 2010s, which is why this thing is so overdue.

Do you have a problem with some other team name? Want it changed? Go for it. Try to get people organized to protest against it. Get other organizations involved. See if you can get national attention. If there's any substance to your argument, it'll build. This is the way these things change.

You're right, people are always offended. But they don't transfer that into a prolonged campaign unless there's something real there.

97 Offense

"My question is. What does it matter if people are offended?"

"Because it's a business? If enough people hate the name of a business and say...."

Pat is correct here, it just wrankles that the people most offended are white progressives rather than actual Native Americans and everyone knows it. At the end of the day the name should be changed because football should try to minimize it's profile in the culture war to maximize it's revenues. 

 

99 it just wrankles that the…

In reply to by sbond101

it just wrankles that the people most offended are white progressives rather than actual Native Americans and everyone knows it.

Here is the letter from the President of the Navajo Nation: https://twitter.com/NNPrezNez/status/1282695962574548992

"The change did not come about willingly by the team's owners, but by the mounting pressure and advocacy of indigenous peoples such as Amanda Blackhorse and many other warriors who fought long and hard for this change."

100 Well, if you wrote that most…

In reply to by sbond101

Well, if you wrote that most people offended are white progressives than actual Native Americans and everyone knows it, you'd be correct.  In all likelihood, there are more white progressives offended than actual living Native Americans.  Now, I don't know how you would judge which people are most offended.  I expect there's an upper threshold of offensiveness, where upon reaching, you can go no higher.  I think there are many people of every color and creed in that category.

Look, Washington fans and a segment of conservatives like to pretend this is a recent issue brought about by the white liberal media.  That is untrue.  These protests, as I think Pat has said a couple of times, have been going back to at least the 80s.  Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts both changed their mascots (Indians and Redmen, respectively) in 1972, so you could say it goes back at least that far.  I lived in Central New York in the early to mid 90s, not far from the Oneida Nation, as well as other Iroquois tribes, and the fight was very much a thing then.  What has changed since then is that the movement has become ingrained on non-native consciousness.  If it took non-Native support, with a huge boost from the media, to get the ball rolling downhill, that's not a negative.  To my eyes, it's a positive for humanity that people can support others' causes, even if it doesn't affect them.

There's a reason that Stanford, UMass, St. John's, Miami Ohio, Syracuse, William & Mary, Dartmouth, Eastern Washington, Midwestern St, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas St, Siena, Colgate, Marquette, and scores of small universities and high schools have all changed their Native American-themed nicknames in the past 50 years.  And it wasn't because their nicknames conveyed too much respect.

101 To pile on, here is an…

To pile on, here is an article in the Washington Post interviewing quite a few offended Native Americans https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/07/09/native-american-groups-redskins-name-change-indians-braves-blackhawks/

105 The pile on

… the point that I was making which connects to the point of the original poster is this: If you were to poll Native Americans about the name (as has been done) they would be split (you can argue about how split) about whether it's offensive or not. If you were to pull white progressives about the same question you would find 100% find it deeply offensive. This concords with my first hand experience working on a native reserve in (in Canada) when I was kid. This dynamic is irritating because it creates the impression that "offensiveness" is being wielded as a club in a political conflict - something that has been fairly evident in movements like this for at least 50 years.

Please stop deliberately misconstruing this as some kind of defense of the name, or a statement that no Native Americans think it's offensive. There are quite obviously some who do and some who don't - but let's be honest about what's going on here. This will be my last response in order to avoid this crossing over into the land of politics.

110 I did not mean to…

In reply to by sbond101

I did not mean to intentionally misconstrue your point, but I did misunderstand it somewhat. My apologies.

114 "If you were to poll Native…

In reply to by sbond101

"If you were to poll Native Americans about the name (as has been done)"

Just to make my point clearer about why I don't understand why the poll matters:

If there was a team called the "Oklahoma Dirty Murderin' Texans" (hey, it's not that much worse than some other names) and the Texas state government called for the name to be changed as offensive over multiple administrations with growing support over many years, I wouldn't be persuaded by a poll of the Texas people that said a majority of them don't find it offensive. The state government represents the people, so if they *really* were okay with the name, they'd be less supportive of their representatives making it a big issue.

The Native American organizations calling for it to be changed are a representative organization of their members, and the call to change the name is a detailed campaign for solid reasons. The fact that you call around and ask "is this a big deal to you?" to the people they represent doesn't matter. You don't get to end run around representative assemblies like that. It might make you take the issue slowly because you're not sure if it's just a political thing inside that assembly, but when it persists and grows for years and years, it's a real thing.

113 Rankles, incidentally. No "w…

In reply to by sbond101

Rankles, incidentally. No "w".

"Pat is correct here, it just wrankles that the people most offended are white progressives rather than actual Native Americans and everyone knows it."

Meh, I'm not sure I'd go *that* far. Certainly there are a ton of Native American organizations that have been strenuously calling for the name to be changed, and I'm not sure I'd trust the results of a poll over the stated objections of the NCAI, for instance.

It's also worth noting that part of what *actually* offends me (although I don't label myself, so I won't address your categorization, I guess) isn't the name itself, but Washington's *response* to the call to change the name. Whether or not the name should be changed is something to resolve between the Native American organizations and the Washington team, but the fact that they're so ridiculously dismissive of those concerns is what makes me convinced that *something* has to change with the team.

I'd imagine that many non-Native Americans have similar feelings, even if they might not be able to articulate them quite like that. It's hard for me to be "offended" by the name since I don't have any understanding of the implications or the societal concerns they have.

119 Frankly, it does not matter…

Frankly, it does not matter who is offended or not. It's a slur. If you called someone a redskin, there's no context in which it would not be insulting. What's causing some people to resist the change is that it's not a commonly used slur. But a team's name should not be something you can't call a ref under any circumstances (you also shouldn't call a ref a dolphin, a packer or a texan, but those words aren't insulting of themselves).

82 I hate to cite wikipedia's…

I hate to cite wikipedia's but I was the best source i could readily find to refute this nonsense.

Polls seeking to provide evidence of the opinion of Native Americans suffer from many limitations. First is the small size of the population, less than one percent of the total population of the United States. It takes months of sampling in order to gather a statistically significant sample. The most significant difficulty has been the problem of using self-identification as the only means of identifying Native Americans. One of the limitations of this polling method is that people who are not ethnically Native American are incorrectly identifying as such.[10]

The problem of self-identification has been addressed by Native American scholars. An alternative method to standard opinion polls was used by the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies at California State University, San Bernardino. A survey was conducted of 400 individuals, with 98 individuals positively identified as Native Americans, finding that 67% agreed with the statement that "Redskins" is racial or racist. The response from non-natives was almost the opposite, with 68% responding that the name is not racist.[11][12] In a 2020 study at UC Berkeley researchers found that 49% of self-identified Native Americans responded that the Washington Redskins name was offensive or very offensive, while only 38% were not bothered by it. In addition, for study participants who were heavily engaged in their native or tribal cultures, 67% said they were offended, for young people 60%, and those with tribal affiliations 52%.[13][14]

17 Had this been done in the…

Had this been done in the 70s, the team would already have a rich tradition under it's new name, and it would be a non-issue today.  But better now than continuing to kick this can down the road. 

While the change may be uncomfortable/disappointing for some fans, I'm hopeful that 10- to 20-years from now, the new name will have a rich tradition and this will be more of a "hey Dad, did you know the XXXs used to be called the Redskins back in the old days?" sort of thing.

It's difficult to give Snyder credit for anything, and but I'm willing to give him credit for changing his mind on this.  I notice Coach Rivera has been featured prominently on team communications through this process.  I wonder how much of a role he's played behind the scenes, and if it's possible this was one of his conditions for hiring, or everything just feel into place (a new respected coach with a preference for changing the name, the George Floyd tragedy, the sponsor mobilization as a result of the Floyd tragedy, etc.).  Regardless, Snyder had to change his mind and backtrack on previous public comments, and I'll give him credit for being willing to do so.  Changing long-held beliefs is one of the most difficult things for adults to do.

 

20 Had this been done in the…

Had this been done in the 70s, the team would already have a rich tradition under it's new name, and it would be a non-issue today.  But better now than continuing to kick this can down the road. 

While the change may be uncomfortable/disappointing for some fans, I'm hopeful that 10- to 20-years from now, the new name will have a rich tradition and this will be more of a "hey Dad, did you know the XXXs used to be called the Redskins back in the old days?" sort of thing.

Not so long as Snyder and his Fordian legacy own the team. The Wizards have zero tradition, and it's not like the Bullets had a deep and/or rich one, either, but they do own the franchise's title.

Even success is not universally a balm. The Supersonics have been gone for 12 years, and despite reaching a Finals, the Thunder have no legacy of which to speak.

\Boy, those throwbacks are going to be awkward.

25 I haven't thought about if…

I haven't thought about if/how they're going to do throwbacks. It won't be this year, but I wonder if they're going to change the colors up at least slightly to match the new name. If they do that, then they could have the throwbacks be the burgundy and gold, but have a logo-less helmet. Just call it an homage to the Baugh days when there weren't any helmet logos

40 Any experts on trademark law…

Any experts on trademark law?

Don't trademarks have to be used in similar industries for there to be an issue?  How could anybody but another NFL owner have trademark rights that would be relevant?

 

Did the Carolina Panthers have to get permission from the Florida Panthers (and/or Pittsburgh Panthers) in order to use that name?

(I had to look it up, and was surprised to see that the Florida Panthers began operations 2 years before the Carolina Panthers.)

43 I'm not an expert but I know…

I'm not an expert but I know there are different classes of trademarks basically covering different areas that a business will be involved in.

A quick search brings up examples from EU law (detailed below).

Class 41 will cover the sporting stuff. But among other things they'll they'll need Class 25 "Clothing, footwear, headgear.",  Class 43 is "Services for providing food and drink" and "Temporary Accommodation" i.e. hotels and restaurant complex

Obviously they're going to need trademarks to apply worldwide. I presume there is no single worldwide trademarking body.

But  if anyone has one of the classes they want they're going to have to contact them and negotiate it off them. 

 

https://trademark.eu/list-of-classes-with-explanatory-notes/

44 Not an expert either, but it…

Not an expert either, but it seems like other professional football leagues - e.g., the USFL - would qualify as "similar industries" even if they aren't at the same 'level' as the NFL.

In particular, the name "Generals", which seems to be what they're zeroing in on (I thought people were joking about that, but there does seem to be a large number of articles hinting at this from professional/reputable sources in the last few days, including this from a week and a half ago, which certainly seems to be telling), was the name of a USFL team - one that happened to be owned by a certain notoriously litigious current DC resident.

45 The irony being that said…

The irony being that said person was desperate to be involved in the NFL. 

I believe I'm right in saying he killed the USFL by getting it to move to an autumn schedule in the hope of forcing a merger. 

 More recently, he was looking at buying the Bills before the Wilson sold it to the Pegulas.

Cannot see him willingly giving up the Generals name without demanding a stake in the team. Imagine those two ego's together.

53 The New Jersey Generals…

The New Jersey Generals trademarks are all dead.
http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4806:180gyt.7.1

It appears the issue may be the Austin Generals.
 

They have a living trademark on Generals as part of a football team.

 

49 Washington Monuments

Washington Monuments is about the only other thing that comes to mind.

Well, unless being named after Washington becomes an issue.    In that case, we can always fall back to the District of Colum...doh!

All that being said, its long overdue, just with I had more faith in Snyder to do this transition well...

66 The Houston Texans are…

The Houston Texans are hoping they pick "Monuments", so that "Texans" is no longer the most boring name in the NFL.  (Apologies to the Cleveland Browns.)

69 re this whole "what about…

re this whole "what about the Vikings" thing:

 

1. Viking was an activity, not a physical description.  It is directly analogous to Raider or Buccaneer.

 

2. All the actual Vikings have been dead for a thousand years.  If they were still alive, in addition to being very old, they would be extremely confused about why they're depicted as wearing horns on their helmets, which historians are quite firm about: other than one possibly ceremonial relic, Viking helmets didn't have horns.  But no one is correcting this in the popular culture because - and this is the serious point - no living person is impacted by how Vikings are or are not portrayed.

 

3. No living person, or their parents, or their grandparents, was ever denigrated by the broader society and denied opportunities because they were a "dirty Viking".

 

4. As the "we are not a mascot" movement should have made clear to everyone by now, there is a broad effort among native North Americans right now to reclaim ownership and control over their culture and how it is portrayed and profited from.   People want to say "this is just about people getting offended" but that is not true.  The name of the Washington football team is directly connected to a much bigger issue; the name of the Minnesota football team is not connected to any equivalent issue.

88 "3. No living person, or…

"3. No living person, or their parents, or their grandparents, was ever denigrated by the broader society and denied opportunities because they were a "dirty Viking"."

Yeah, I kinda doubt that's true. People come up with all sorts of wacko slurs and what "broader society" is is up to interpretation.

I don't think it's a great idea to set up some sort of "acceptance test" for names, and really, we don't have to. Comparing "Viking" to Washington's name is a ridiculous strawman argument. There's a huge coalition of people and organizations calling for the change of Washington's name. There isn't one for Vikings. If one shows up, awesome, we'll talk about it. But there isn't one now.

" there is a broad effort among native North Americans right now to reclaim ownership and control over their culture and how it is portrayed and profited from."

Exactly, and that's why there's a difference between the Washington team name and Kansas City, and the Cleveland and Atlanta baseball team names. A huge part of the reason why there's such backlash against Washington's name is because of how the team has "engaged" with the community. In the end those other teams likely will need to change as well, but it's far more of a reasoned discussion.

74 Some say that billionaires…

Some say that billionaires have what they do because of their business acumen and their hard work.  Let’s take that assumption at face value here (I know not a popular sentiment on this site, but bear with me for a bit), and give Dan Snyder credit for in many senses for being a self-made billionaire.  Sure, he made contacts that helped him along the way, like Mortimer Zuckerman.  But nothing I’ve seen indicates that he’s some spoiled heir of a fortune from his ancestors.

So, Dan Snyder is canny enough to come from at the very least a not-terribly wealthy background and end up owning an NFL team.  This presumably intelligent man had the faith of the banking community to an extent that he was able, in 1999, to buy a storied American sports franchise that he loved, largely with money he borrowed against the team as collateral.  They won’t just let any Joe Six-Pack do that, right?

So he bought a team that, by 1999, even the almost all white folks in the part of rural Pennsylvania in which I originally lived largely agreed the name was racist or at least insensitive, and ought to be changed.  This was, of course, long before every possible conversation had been viewed through the lens of picking sides with whichever party you voted for, rather than your own personal values.  This behavior is often described, ironically enough, as “tribal” political behavior.  A more neutral term might be identity politics, but I don’t think identity politics as the source of all of this phenomenon, though I think it plays a large role.

I’ve not done the research on when Martin McCauley registered these trademarks, but I get the impression that it didn’t start before or closely after Snyder bought the team.  In other words, Snyder, a supposed high achiever, had YEARS to pay attention to the conversation people were having about the name.  In fact, per of his due diligence when buying the team, he should have educated himself about the movement to change the name back in the 1970s.  So, if he was going spend a combined $800 million of his and borrowed money, he should have spent the relative pittance to trademark any of the names that he found acceptable to him in the case of renaming the team becoming necessary for business purposes and protecting his investment.

McCauley DID see which way the wind was blowing, and invested a sum that would trivial to Snyder but considerable to anyone who isn’t a multi-millionaire.  I can’t give a number for what he deserves as compensation; I can say that I truly believe that a reasonable amount which would be relatively trivial to Snyder and the team, but life-changing for MacCauley.  That could be as little as lifetime season tickets in primo seats, or as much as millions of dollars.  Snyder and the team wouldn’t feel a thing in either case.

It is only Snyder’s pride and intransigence that is standing in the way of him getting the name he wants, if MacCauley truly is the holdup here.  If he simply cannot abide “not winning,” in this case, then he can pick a different name that he can get rights to for nothing more than trademark registration costs.  If it’s something else entirely, well then this could be a different story.

I love the concept of either the Redtails or Red Cloud(s).  If Snyder wants to have, or is capable of, cultivating a relationship with Red Cloud’s tribe and descendants, I would go the latter route.

However, if not, I think the Redtails’ history with the Tuskegee Airmen is also a great story, fits this unique moment as we reckon with systemic racial issues with the Black community in this country, and also fits Snyder’s rumored preference for a military theme.  Of course, in this case, he should have the conversation with any living Tuskegee Airmen (I believe I heard sometime fairly recently that the last had died, but I am pressed for time at the moment), their descendants, and leading members of the Black community, activists included.

I also will say that I dig that freelance Redtails uniform design that has circulated online.  I am a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, yet if they went with this design, and really demonstrate respect and honor the history and people behind the name, I would definitely buy one of these jerseys.  Same with Red Cloud(s), if they end up going that route under the same conditions.  Hopefully those would look great while having the support of the community Red Cloud belonged to.

78 ." No living person, or…

." No living person, or their parents, or their grandparents, was ever denigrated by the broader society and denied opportunities because they were a "dirty Viking".

...with the possible righteous exception of The Ponderous One.

 

 

80 If we're going for accurate…

If we're going for accurate metro area representation, the new name has to be either The GS-13s or The Rent-Seekers. 

85 I would admire the chutzpah…

I would admire the chutzpah of the man if the name was re-christened the Washington Snyders.  There's a nice middle finger.

I wonder if the trademark issues go away if the denonym changes to "DC".  DC Hogs sounds good to me.

104 Snyder would have 70 or 80…

Snyder would have 70 or 80 lawyers on the D.C. side of the field, and everytime a play went out of bounds on that side, one of them would serve an opposing player with a lawsuit, which would have an immediate hearing (Snyder having successfully lobbied for a new circuit just for the building)  scheduled in the bowels of the stadium, just like Eagles used to have for the drunks at Veterans stadium. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the opposition would be looking at a crowded hearing and deposition schedule stretching out weeks, at which point Rivera makes a settlement offer, involving a 1 point  D.C. victory. The fans who paid to see a 4 quarter game get a letter 5 years later saying they will be getting 2 coupons for a hot dog and a pepsi.

117 It's not my bigotry, that's…

It's not my bigotry, that's just how it's used.

Also, the origin doesn't really matter - what matters is how it's used now. 

I think the word 'redskin' is a poor name for a team now - but I don't care if they change it or not change it. The sad part is that it took pressure in Snyder's wallet to convince him to change the name. 

 

115 growing up in the Panama…

growing up in the Panama Canal Zone, often saw "yanqui go home" graffiti in Panama City...   it's a term used for all americans, regardless of where they were from (even zonians who were up to 3rd generation born there)...

116 Yankee

Of course it's a slur - American's simply don't care. It's kind of freeing not to care if someone says something intended to offend you - more people should try it.

118 It's a lot easier to not…

In reply to by sbond101

It's a lot easier to not care when the slur also doesn't matter.  Slurs intended to cause offense rarely have any meaningful impact, but slurs intended to "keep people in their place", i.e. reinforce second-class citizenship, are of a different matter.

The one I hear a lot lately is "Go home where you belong", hurled at anyone with a non-white skin tone.  Sure, you could say "don't bother to be offended by it", but it reflects a prevailing attitude that also impacts that person's likelihood of getting a job or being treated well at restaurants, etc.

By contrast, I'm challenged to think of any insult that could be leveled at me that would cause me significant offense.  For better or worse, I'm close to the top of the economic food chain, and the opinions of random people on the street aren't of particular interest to me.

120 Man, if 25% of the rumors…

Man, if 25% of the rumors floating about are true, regarding what Snyder was hoping to deflect attention from with the name change, if a Washington Post story is published, we have a thermonuclear Donald Stirling situation about to explode. The sad thing is that I'm not inclined to be dismissive of the rumors, cuz', well, Dan Snyder.

122 The part of the story that…

The part of the story that poses the most danger to Snyder, I think, is the instances of witnessed battery (pinching, iirc) visited on some women. If it can be shown that it is likely he was aware of this, and he didn't terminate the batterers, he might get forced out of the cartel. Otherwise, sadly, we'll likely have him as an owner for a very long time to come.

123 I honestly hope for his sake…

I honestly hope for his sake it doesn't materialize to that. Being a dickhead owner who is tone deaf and cut throat doesn't necessarily imply he condones what's been alleged. I am hoping he's a decent person because the obvious conclusion everyone is drawing is that it stemmed from his tacit approval. I hope that's wrong and there's some decency in him. 

At some point, I am also hoping he wakes up to reality of how far the <fill in blank> have fallen under his watch. He's a genuine fan of football and presumably that means he adores winning more than just his pocketbook. In some ways, we can all relate to Synder - how cool would it be to own your favorite team. Unfortunately, for him, he has realize once you are the owner, you cannot be just a fan.