By Travis WaldronGrosso’s non-binding resolution is the least of the Redskins’ worries. The big threat to the team and its owner, Dan Snyder, is the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which in February heard a case petitioning it to classify the word “Redskin” as a derogatory slur: as such, it wouldn’t be eligible for trademark protection. But even if it loses that case, the team will “NEVER” change its name, Snyder told the USA Today on Thursday:“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder told USA TODAY Sports this week. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”
What if his football team loses an ongoing federal trademark lawsuit? Would he consider changing it then?
“We’ll never change the name,” he said. “It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps.”The trademark case won’t be resolved anytime soon—probably not until next year, and it will likely see appeals after that. The board stripped the Redskins of their trademark in 1999, only to have the decision overturned on a technicality (that petitioners waited too long to file their claim) in 2003. But the basic case is pretty strong: “Redskins” is plainly derogatory, a racial marker that various dictionaries define as “offensive” and a “term of disparagement,” and petitioners have this time structured the case in a manner that should avoid the timing technicality. Native Americans and activists have fought its use for years, with one, Clem Iron Wing, reportedly telling a school board in Wichita, Kansas—where a high school uses the nickname—that the “only way ‘redskin’ was ever used towards my people and myself was in a derogatory manner.” Pay close enough attention to the debate, and you’ll notice that no one—not even Snyder—defends the term on the grounds that it isn’t racist or derogatory. Instead, they argue that the team should keep it because it’s “tradition” and because 79 percent of Americans support it.Comment: For more on the Washington Redskins, see "Inuit Chief" Supports Washington Redskins and Cooperstown Changes "Redskins" to "Hawkeyes".