June 19, 2014

Redskins react to trademark decision

Bruce Allen claims “we’re fine” after Redskins lose trademark case

By Michael David SmithWashington Redskins President Bruce Allen is claiming that all is well after the team lost its trademark in a ruling handed down today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Asked whether the Redskins can continue to use their name, Allen told Mark Maske of the Washington Post, “We’re fine. We’re fine.”

As a legal matter, Allen is correct: The trademark issue does not compel the Redskins to change their name or logo. It just says they no longer have the right to federal trademark protection on their name and logo.

But as a practical matter, this could turn out to be the tipping point on this issue: If the Redskins lose their appeal of this ruling and therefore lose their trademark for good, anyone can sell cheap “Redskins” gear without paying to license the products. That would mean all those Redskins shirts and hats and other officially licensed gear would no longer need to be officially licensed. It could be sold anywhere, by anyone. And losing the exclusive right to sell Redskins shirts and hats and other gear would be costly.
Redskins Lawyer Claims There Is 'No Momentum' for Name ChangeIt's not about reviewing the facts--it's about selling their version of the facts, a tactic demonstrated in a comment of Raskopf's that surfaced in an AP story titled "Ruling adds momentum for Redskins name change":

"There's no momentum in the place that momentum matters," Raskopf said. "And that's in Native America."

No momentum?

This is an attempt to sell two false narratives. One is that American Indians don't care about the issue. And the other, implied, false narrative is that the opinions of American Indians matter, at all, to the Redskins organization. ("We would change something, but we've looked around and nobody seems to be upset. Just kidding, we didn't really look. And also just kidding, we wouldn't change anything anyway.")

Really... no momentum?

Evidently he's not getting his news from this website, where we've reported that "67 Percent of Native Americans Say Redskins Is Offensive". Raskopf may also have missed the story about the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation buying a TV ad during the NBA Finals. He may have missed the National Congress of the American Indians' statements (there have been a few) condemning the name, as well as the activism of Native American Olympian Billy Mills (both Mills and NCAI Chairman Brian Cladoosby praised yesterday's ruling.) He may have missed ICTMN columnist Gyasi Ross--who not long ago professed not to care about the issue--joining Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter on ESPN's Outside the Lines.
Crying fans, cowardly players

Meanwhile, Redskins fanatics offered no new facts or evidence to justify their mascot love. All they had was more juvenile bluster and name-calling:

Some Washington Football Team Fans Are Pretty Upset About The Trademark Ruling

As I tweeted to them:

You lost, @Redskins crybabies. Get over it. Suck it up like you expect Indians to do. Quit whining about your feelings and #ChangetheName.

RG3: Now’s not the time for me to speak on Redskins name

A few days later, the team's biggest star bravely refused to take a stand:

By Michael David SmithSports stars rarely wade into divisive issues, and so it’s no surprise that Robert Griffin III wants to steer clear of the controversy surrounding his team’s name.

Griffin said on 106.7 The Fan that he’d rather not talk about his own feelings about the Redskins name controversy.

“When it comes to those conversations, it’s just not the time,” Griffin said. “And I understand, trust me, I’m African American, I’ve grown up being African American my entire life and I understand oppression and all the things that come with it. But for us, like I said, as players, we have to focus on what we can control right now, and right now that’s the football season.”

That’s not a surprising answer. Athletes usually calculate that if they speak out, they’re more likely to lose fans, lose endorsements and distract from their primary jobs than to effect social change.
Griffin didn't say anything during the last off-season. When exactly will it be "time" to speak? When people with more integrity decide the issue for him?

Or as I tweeted:

"RG3: Now's not the time for me to speak on #Redskins name." Translation: I'm a moral coward who puts paydays first.

No comments: