Epic Fail Ethics Sports

Outreach: The Washington Racial Slurs Sue 5 Native Americans for Being Offended

Snyder

Not only has the Washington football team filed a lawsuit against the five Native Americans who took their case to the Patent and Trademark Office board, their reason for doing so is simply breathtaking in its audacity.

The team, which has used Redskins as part of its name since 1933, says in court papers that the patent office board was wrong and that its trademarks are proper because the term was not offensive when the trademarks were registered. The team says canceling the trademarks, which were registered between 1967 and 1990, would violate the Constitution.

Lawyers for the five Native Americans argue that the Redskins’ lawsuit against them should be dismissed because the team’s real dispute is with the patent office.

I can think of a lot of names and words that probably weren’t widely considered to be offensive in 1967. At least not widely considered to be offensive among white people.

The team’s lawsuit is based on the idea that minorities shouldn’t be allowed to decide for themselves what is and is not offensive. It’s based on the idea that something only becomes offensive when white people decide that it is.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Wait … what?

    The team says canceling the trademarks, which were registered between 1967 and 1990, would violate the Constitution.

    Violate the who with the what now? Violate the fleebing Constitution? Seriously? Where in the Constitution does it say that trademarks can’t be cancelled? Where in the Constitution is a trademark a fundamental right that can’t be violated even with due process? WTF is the Constitutional argument here?

    Jeebus fleebing cripes, people, if you think the USPTO got it wrong, APPEAL THE DECISION. Don’t take it out on the petitioners.

    • muselet

      [T]he Redskins argue the lawsuit is an appropriate, and even preferred, method of appealing the board’s decision. The team says the group of Native Americans is a proper target because it filed the petition that initiated the board’s action and have an interest in the outcome.

      That makes even less sense to me than the claim the PTO violated the Constitution. Is this really the right way to appeal a PTO decision, or is the Washington NFL Franchise plumbing new depths of legal harassment?

      –alopecia