Washington Redskins: Trademark ruling violates First Amendment

Washington Redskins: Trademark ruling violates First Amendment

The Washington Redskins have taken a number of questionable tactics in its battle to protect the trademark for its name.

Among the names cited by the NFL team: Take Yo Panties Off and Dago Swagg clothing, Midget Man condoms and inflatable sex dolls and Baked By A Negro bakery products.

The team is appealing a judge’s July order cancelling its trademark registration. The judge ruled the name Redskins may disparage Native Americans.

In a brief filed with the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, the team says the federal trademark register is “infested with countless trademarks conveying racist and offensive messages” but insists that the name Redskins is not among them.

The Native Americans who challenged the trademark have until Jan. 14 to file their response.

The decades-long controversy has become an issue in the US Presidential race with Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush claiming the team name is not offensive to Native Americans.

‘’It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team. I’m missing something here, I guess,’’ Bush told SiriusXM radio.

‘’I don’t think (the team) should change it,’’ said Bush when asked whether the football team should drop the name, which some Native Americans find offensive.

Change the Mascot, a group that campaigns against the use of the nickname on behalf of Native American tribes and others, said in a statement that ‘’no presidential candidate should be promoting this racial slur against Native Americans.’’

‘’The governor somehow believes he speaks for Native Americans and can assert that Native American people do not find this slur offensive. He clearly is missing something,’’ the statement said.

The group suggested Bush did not want to offend one of his biggest donors, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. He contributed $100,000 to the super PAC, Right To Rise, which backs Bush’s campaign, according to federal campaign records.

Democrats pounced on Bush, saying his support of the name is ‘’extremely insulting to Native American people.’’

‘’The team’s name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people, and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature,’’ said Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a statement.