There’s only one possible topic I could have written for this week’s Fame Day given yesterday’s news that-
Federal agency cancels Redskins trademark registration, says name is disparaging [!]
Hold on, let me find a gif that accurately depicts how I feel about this news. Hold on . . . Okay, I think this one should suffice:
Suffice to say, I think this news is just the greatest. I would also like for you to think the same thing, so let me start to break down what exactly this means in the grand scheme of things. Let’s pretend that I told you that there’s good news and bad news and that you opted for the latter first.
The “bad news” is that Washington’s NFL team will not be forced to change their name. Yesterday the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled their registration, a move that ultimately has to do with merchandising. While this ultimately “dilutes the Redskins’ legal protection against infringement and hinders the team’s ability to block counterfeit merchandise from entering the country” it also won’t prohibit them from being able to sell products emblazoned with their branding.
As far as things currently stand, the name and logo remain.
To move on to what is undoubtedly the “good news” of this entire matter, this is concrete proof that the American federal government stands on one side of this issue. While the ruling was not unanimous, the reasoning for it as it currently stands has to do with federal trademark law, which-
“-does not permit registration of trademarks that ‘may disparage’ individuals or groups or ‘bring them into contempt or disrepute.’ The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word ‘Redskin.'”
Let me restate that in different words: members of the US government believe that the term is disrespectful to Native Americans. It’s not just people on the internet like yours truly anymore, these are individuals who have authority and actual power to change things.
This also comes soon after the following ad, which was aired during the 2014 NBA Finals and paid for by the California-based Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. It’s as straightforward an argument as you could ever want over why this as an important matter to so many people.
While discussion over this has turned towards free speech and whether or not non-Native peoples should even be championing this cause [a topic I will be addressing in the very near future], what’s important to dwell on is the positive aspects of this entire thing, namely that this is a huge step in the right direction for professional sports and the United States in general.
As of right now the vote is split almost directly down the middle on the Washington Post’s poll over whether or not to change the name. Regardless of how that turns out, as well as many other arguments all across the nation, what matters is that discussion is happening. Change may still be a long time in coming, but the wheels are starting to turn in that direction.
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