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U.S. Patent Office: Redskins name 'disparaging,' federal trademark must be canceled

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  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    June 18, 2014 9:19 a.m.

    What is so disparaging about using a racial slur for a team name?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    Senator Harry Reid said he would not attend any Redskins games as long as the name remains. That alone would be a good reason for not changing the name.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    Political correctness run amok. Again, but not for the last time, either.

    "Utes" will be next. After all, it disparages inner city thugs, so it must be eliminated.

    And, shockingly, the BYU team names are very offensive! Disparaging millions of women by the use of a term which the Urban Dictionary defines as "An older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man." This cannot be tolerated!

    And, remember the name of our continent is that of some Italian guy, so lawyers can surely find someone with Italian ancestry who will be offended.

    In all 57 states, we must demand that courts, and even Patent and Trademark Offices enforce our Constitutional right "not to be offended." And, to collect monetary damages we may be entitled to.

    The fact that we have so many people easily offended is surely the modern day equivalent of fiddling while Rome was burning. I can think of 17.5 trillion more important things to be upset about.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 18, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    There was recently a state department document that talked about fighting homophobia, which has become an epithet for anyone who believes in traditional marriage.

    Then there was a rainbow flag flying over the US embassy in Israel which has become symbolic of intolerance.

    If those are OK, then why is the term "Redskins" not OK? We need some consistency.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:23 a.m.

    And in looking at polls on the subject it is still not clear just how many Native Americans really find the name offensive enough to want it changed. Some varied polling out there. Some polls even show a significant majority not being offended because they realize that the name is not meant to be a denigration, but a celebration of their culture. So the question is. How many offended does it take to change a light bulb. One? If someONE finds something offensive, should they be considered legitimate? How about 10%? Maybe 40%? Where is the line drawn before it is reasonable to consider it a legitimate argument? If the answer is one or ten or one hundred, then we will always be living in a country that is subject the PC whims of a small minority. Not a good way to go.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    DN Subsciber

    No, Utes will not be next unless the Ute Nation asks for it to be removed. However, since the Ute Nation has on several occasions stated that they like that the University can help bring awareness to the Utes in addition to just completing a contract with the University allowing that to continue the Ute name won't be next. Just as every other team with a Native American mascot like Illinois, FSU, and others.

    This isn't political correctness run amok. This is a very obvious example of a team name that needs to be changed. And no, Native Americans aren't claiming a right not to be offended in this one - the name is very plainly disparaging. And I'm glad you're not the only person on earth or changing it would be a few trillion down the list. In the real word there are lots of people and many off them are off handing the big tough work - so it's okay if a few people focus on this one.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    Change the team name to the Washington Lobbyists.

    No one would disparage a lobbyist...

    Right?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    I DEMAND the name Vikings also be banned - it dispareges my Swedish and Danish ancestry. Same with Bucanneers and Raiders. Fighting Irish has to go, too, along with Fighting Scots.

    Utah needs to change its name, we cannot be named for a tribe. Same with Illinois, that refers to a group of tribes, so it is even more heinous. Oh, and don't forget INDIANa! How could we have tolerates such bigotry for so long?

    Trojans - cannot use that one either, for a number of reasons, or Spartans. bad bad bad.

    Cowboys and Indians, those names also need to go.

    What do we allow the disparagement of meatpackers? change that one.

    cannot disparage miners of those who participated in the goldrush.

    And why do we hate the people of Texas so that we allow the NFL to name a team after them.

    cannot disparage those who work in oil fields, either. shame shame shame.

    Don't like the name? don't go to the game or buy the appaeral.

    PC run amok.

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    How can anyone defend this word as non-derogatory?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    Everybody who disparages political correctness is lucky it exists. Were it not for that, I could say what I think around here.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    Obviously, the U.S. Patent Office has become politicized. THATS' a bad idea. I have a very strong feeling that Harry Reid "made a phone call".

    Do democrats REALLY want every government agency politicized?

    They've already politicized immigration enforcement, DEA, IRS, etc., and to a large extent, the military.

    The Redskins name has been fine for over 50 yrs. - what changed, except Harry Reid?

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    Why don't people who support the name say "Redskins shouldn't be offended" instead of "Native Americans shouldn't be offended"?

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    GZE - because you don't understand the context and you are intentionally looking at it as a derogatory term. It's not. But lets apply common sense - do you really think that at the turn of the century the Washington Football Club decided to name their team in a derogatory fashion? BY your definition it would be like a new team today naming their team the Nazis. Does that really make sense?

    But I get that there are crazy PC people out there - just see the Jr High in Sandy that couldn't use the name "Cougars" because it is offensive to middle aged women. Really?????

    Redskins was not then and still isnt a derogatory term. Only people trying to make something out of nothing find it offensive.

  • Ifel Of'a-sofa Alpine, Utah
    June 18, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    I am one to not go crazy about being PC, however I think there is a point to this.
    I am honest when I hear the term redskins I think about the Washington Football team... always have.
    However it IS a derogatory term for a persons RACE.

    Washington W word (river swimmers)
    Washington Chinks
    Washington N word (I can't believe that cant be posted)
    Washington Crackers... you get the picture.

    Cowboys, Indians, Vikings, Mexicans, Utes, Seminoles, Indians, Africans, Irish etc are not derogatory names.

    It is probably time Washington changed their mascot name in my opinion.

    It's probably time

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    The Wraith

    You were not very clear in your objection to DN Subscriber. Are you in fact defending the 17.5 trillion dollar debt of this nation? Because it would make sense to me that the Senate Majority Leader and President of the United States be concerning themselves with something that really threatens our country, the debt, rather than to make an issue of a small thing like a 50 year old team name. And if a small group of Utes were to come out and call for a name change, would that change your opinion? If not then how many would it take?

    GZE

    So, let me ask you this. What if a majority of Native Americans were to say that the name Redskin was NOT offensive to them? Would that be OK, or would you insist the name change because you want it so?

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    June 18, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    I have been a Vikings fan ever since I can remember, but today I'm buying a Redskins jersey. The PC crowd has gone too far.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    June 18, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    With all the other more pressing issues facing the nation and the world my answer is, so what?

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 18, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    PP and SC,

    So you would be comfortable describing a native american as a "redskin"? You would call them that to their faces? Since it's not at all derogatory?

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    June 18, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    Please note that from this day forward potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, and apples can no longer be said to have "redskins" because that would be disparaging to the people designated as Native Americans. Although I could take offense at the term "Native American". After all I was born and raised in the US as were both of my parents, and all 4 of my grandparents which should qualify me as a "Native American" with ancestry from another continent the same as they have ancestry from another continent.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    June 18, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    I am guessing the Cleveland Indians are next to fall to the PC police. What a sad country America has become but we the people allowed this nonsense to happen by electing the liberal garbage that fills our courts and congress. Soon you won't be able to use the word "woman" or "she" because it is found to be gender damaging by the same PC police. You can see where this is all going.... I wish my kids could have grown up in the America I knew and loved as a boy but that place is no where to be found. Very sad. Soon you won't be able to tell America from Socialist Europe to the delight of liberals.

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    June 18, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    I saw a poll yesterday on msndotcom that a whopping vast majority in the survey (something like 80%????) were NOT offended by the Redskins name.

    And yet the whiny minority are prevailing.

    And now the patent office weights in.

    Idiots.

    Sadly, today we are led by idiots.

  • Rob of NV Las Vegas, NV
    June 18, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    I have been concerned for some time about Harry Reid and this administration's ideology for some time. His comment about being "forced" to do the "right" thing, should cause concern for any citizen about the Constitution and freedoms. What else will the government "force" us to do that they deem is "right".

    I have watched the debate over the Washington Redskins mascot with interest. Whether the name disparages or honors a culture of people is up to debate. Yet, we see teams adopt mascots that idealize people engaged in unlawful and immoral behavior such as pirates, buccaneers, marauders, outlaws and raiders, without batting an eye. Not to mention idealizing the devil through mascots such as Sun Devils, Sand Devils, Red Devils and Blue Devils. No civilized society should idealize such behavior. Something seems amiss in our society in what we idealize and where we place our values. Side note - why are the Native Americans not after the Cleveland Indians for their mascot. My understanding is that do not like that term either. The attack on the Washington Redskins appears to me to be a lot of political grandstanding.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    June 18, 2014 1:27 p.m.

    to lost in DC

    don't forget Gaels, steelers, Seminoles, et cetera

    Then, there are all those animals who never gave the okay nor have they received a kickback.

    As a Dolphins fan, the name doesn't annoy me but the color scheme does. I understand the rationale, but, truthfully belongs on a 1980's cop show w/ Don Johnson.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    June 18, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    PP: "do you really think that at the turn of the century the Washington Football Club decided to name their team in a derogatory fashion?"

    In short, yes. They named it after a stereotype of an aggressive, dangerous people who are ruled more by passion than reason. They named it after a stereotype of a people more akin to bears and tigers than civilized Europeans.

    __________

    Frozen Fractals hit the nail on the head. Why is everyone who's saying it's not derogatory using the phrase "Native Americans" rather than "Redskins." If you're uncomfortable using the word, there's probably a reason.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    June 18, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    FYI, the Code of Federal Regulations allows the PTO to refuse or overturn trademarks that they consider "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous." So yes, the PTO can and does judge morality. There is an extensive list of rejected/overturned trademarks you can look at if you just search the web. So today's action by the PTO is not without precedent and is not uncommon.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 18, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    Disparaging terms can't be trademarked...? Since when?

    And what defines "disparaging"? If you are referring to a baseball team in New York, except for those living in Boston, it is generally viewed as a positive name. But in many parts of the south, if someone refers to you as a "Yankee", it generally is not a term of endearment.

    Should Mormon's be offended by Wake Forest University's "Deamon Deacons"? Doesn't sound too complimentary to me? Should that Trade Mark be stricken down?

    Depending on context, calling someone a redneck can be either a compliment, or a term of disparagement. I have family members that are "black", and yet I don't see that distinction as an insult. Its how the term is used, and by whom.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 18, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    There is a big difference of calling someone by their given or chosen name - Ute, Seminole, Vikings, etc... versus calling someone a slang name - Red Skins. If you can't discern the difference, we have a much larger problem. Its the same as "American" versus "gringo".

    Lets all be a bit smarter.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    June 18, 2014 2:51 p.m.

    GZE

    In todays PC world, I wouldn't even risk calling them Indians. I wouldn't know what to call the Redskins, Indians, or Native Americans. I'd like to think I could call them just Americans, because that is the only label we in America should care about. However in todays world the liberals are so race conscience that one can be in legal trouble for incorrect speech. Not a positive for America, but a negative. It serves to divide, not unite.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    June 18, 2014 2:56 p.m.

    re: A Guy With A Brain

    "Sadly, today we are led by idiots."

    Then, switch the radio to FM.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    June 18, 2014 3:45 p.m.

    Hank Pym

    Yup, guys like Rush and Hannity are on FM, so good suggestion.

    Now for my last post, after looking at the Redskin label I'd like to call out the Redskins for a truth in advertising offense. It is clearly a brown skin person, not red. Maybe if they changed the face to a sunburned blonde California surfer dude after a summer at the beach, it would be OK to keep the name. Or they could just call themselves the Brownskins. Now who would that offend?

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:21 p.m.

    Anywhere Harry Reid won't be, will be a good place.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 19, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    Clearly a violation of law, by bureaucrats, to strip property (i.e. a Trademark) from anyone for mere political reasons. This was also done in '99 under Clinton and overturned..
    Obama strikes again. These guys make Nixon look like a novice...

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 19, 2014 7:09 a.m.

    @ Brave Sir Ute Homer

    Yes, this is very much with precedent, as this was also ruled on the same way in '99 under Bill Clinton, and was then overturned.

    You cannot take away ones property rights, i.e. a trademark, for political reasons.
    Nor can you use the IRS against your political enemies.

    But, this hasn't stopped these former hippies, now running the govt., has it?
    They are Extra-Constitutional at every turn. Lawless and shameless..

    This will not stand!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    Hank Pym

    radio bands do not decide the POTUS

    Are you saying rush and hannity are your leaders?

    boy, are YOU confused.

    I see, you have no cogent argument, so you trot out the tired liberal boogeyman of talk radio. Thanks for exposing the weakness of your viewpoint

  • Kaladin Northern, CO
    June 19, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    I think it will change. Hopefully it will not change too much. Rather than Redskins they could be the Braves or Indians (I actually know a handful of American Indians and they prefer that to Native Americans. The problem with those names is there are already MLB teams using those names. Also, if the Braves played the Chiefs... The term Redskin is certainly not apropos - but the vast majority of American Indians love having teams named after them. Unfortunately, they are likely to change it to something completely different which is a shame.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    June 19, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    They could change their name to someone fierce and unyielding like, Washington Revenuers, Washington BLMS, or Washington EPAS.

    The scariest document to most US citizens is the CP2000 issued by the IRS.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 19, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    Why does the US patent have the "Right" to deny a trademark for ANY reason? They should be recording them and protecting them and the courts rule on issues regarding a "disparaging" word. Those seeking political correctness in everything are infringing on the rights and liberties of the rest of us.

    I have no problem with the Redskins name. It's a long-standing traditional name with a long sports history. Keep it! File an appeal with the Patent office and sue the heck out of the government for any revenue lost due to this issue.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 19, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    Hey Lost -

    "I DEMAND the name Vikings also be banned . . . "

    Well, "Viking" was never a disparaging term.

    "Redskins," on the other hand, is a disparaging term to Native Americans.

    You may like to use the term "Redskins," but I think we should defer to the wishes of the people described by the term. Try to empathize.

    If Native Americans think the term "Redskin" is a disparaging term, then it is in fact a disparaging term.

    What if the shoe was on the other foot? For example, you think of yourself as a "Conservative." Other people think a perfectly acceptable equivalent term for “Conservative” is "Right Wing Nut Job."

    Now Lost, what if I like the term "Right Wing Nut Job," and I find it appropriate and fitting?

    If I used the term "Right Wing Nut Job" to describe you and other like-minded people, would that not seem offensive?

    What if a professional team in Salt Lake City was named the "Right Wing Nut Jobs?"

    Would you not find that offensive and disparaging?

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    "Thin Skins", that's the new name for those that oppose the Red Skins.

  • boneheaded, but not a smidgen SLC, UT
    June 19, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    i'm offended because I was born in the US, but only American Indians are called "native americans". how are they any more native than me?

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    June 19, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    blue devil, why not red devil. devils are offended

  • freedom in 2017 SLC, UT
    June 19, 2014 3:10 p.m.

    I am offended being called a mormon. where is harry, barry and the pc police when you need them?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 19, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    Hey Boneheaded -

    "i'm offended because I was born in the US, but only American Indians are called "native americans". how are they any more native than me?"

    Well Boneheaded . . . Native Americans and Native Right Wing Nut Jobs are not equivalent.

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    oh gary,
    libs name call because they have no logic. you make that point well.

  • rj Moss, Norway
    June 20, 2014 2:49 a.m.

    Here's what the patent office and everyone in their corner haven't understood: that the contemporary meaning of the name is supposed to honor Native Americans, not denigrate them. The only people seeing anything hateful in the name are the ones who want to interpret it that way. If the Redskins organization can no longer be allowed to honor this country's first inhabitants through what most people consider to be a pretty nice name and logo, how shall they do it?

    The United States has long been in the process of developing an offended mindset, where anyone can lobby and even litigate when they feel insulted for any reason. Sticks and stones, Harry Reid. Stop overreacting!

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    June 20, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    Those implying that commenters use the term native american rather than redskin because the latter term is somehow offensive to them miss the obvious point that redskin has largely fallen out of our lexicon as a name,or derogatory term, for native Americans.

    Redskins in our current lexicon is used more than 99% of the time in connection with the NFL team in Washington D.C. For the vast majority of Americans, it has no other meaning and no other connotation.

    It's akin to the term Tories, once a derogatory term, now seldom if ever used.

    I don't really care what Daniel Snyder chooses to call his football team, but I do take exception to those who claim that the only connotation of redskin is as a negative slur. For the vast majority, the only time the word redskin is ever used and the only meaning ascribed to it is that of a football player.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 21, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    "I'm offended that you are offended, that I am not offended!"

    Stanford dropped the nick-name Indians in 1972.

    They then took the quintessential P.C. approach and adopted the nickname "Cardinal", not the bird, mind you...but THE COLOR!

    You see.....they did not want to offend the Ornithologists.

    And their mascot?...Wait for it...wait for it.......Is A TREE!
    That's right, I said it....A TREE!

    However, rumor now has it that "Pantone" and the "Sierra Club" have taken great offense and umbrage with these names and are preparing a class action lawsuit.

    Just call them the "Washington Bandits" and be done with it. Washington Politicians have been stealing from hard working Americans since the Revenue Act of 1862 and have run up 18 trillion in debt.

  • jskains Orem, UT
    June 23, 2014 5:56 a.m.

    The bigger picture being ignored is a massive majority of Native Americans polled were not offended by the term. But often facts are contrary to political correctness.