October 26, 2009

Legal briefs filed against Redskins

Redskins litigants win support from psychologists, justice advocates

By Rob CapricciosoNative American plaintiffs suing to end the trademark of the controversial Redskins National Football League team have gained new support from legal experts, social justice advocates and child psychologists.

One notable amicus brief to the plaintiffs’ September U.S. Supreme Court petition was filed in mid-October by a group of renowned researchers in the social sciences fields, including experts in the areas of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.

Based on scholarly evidence, the experts told the court there is “extensive and pervasive” public harm caused by the continued use of Indian mascots in professional sports.

“Social science research shows that the use of ethnic slurs like ‘redskin’ perpetuates harmful stereotypes and leads to discrimination,” the authors of the brief wrote.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Debating Chief Zee and Limbaugh:  Indians = "Redskins," "Clowns."


dmarks said...

The vapor of " “extensive and pervasive” public harm caused by the continued use of Indian mascots in professional sports.' makes it smell like yet another frivolous lawsuit.

You know I'm opposed to the name and think it should have been changed years ago. But I draw the line at filing frivolous lawsuits in order to pressure the government to censor the name.

Rob said...

The plaintiffs won a round before the verdict was thrown out for technical reasons. The lawsuit can't be "frivolous" if they earned a decision based on the merits of their case.

As the article below notes, trademark law bans certain trademarks. Why shouldn't Indians sue to enforce this law?

The law also bans such names as "Niggers" and "Kikes." Should we throw out the law and let teams trademark these names? Or should we enforce the law and exclude them (and "Redskins")?

The Indians aren't talking about the harm of stereotyping to assuage their feelings. Documenting the harm is part of showing the trademark is "disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable." They probably believe they need this documentation to win the case (again).

For more on the subject, see: