You don’t hear much about the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. And that, my friends, is a good thing. Usually this federal office is as controversial as parsley wrapped celery. On a 1-10 scale of boring, patent law has to rate about a 3,000. That’s normally. But today this obscure agency has thrown football fans into raging fits. Real football. Where guys in helmets use their hands to throw or carry some spheroid object. Not faux football, where athletes direct a round ball with their feet.
In a 2-1 ruling, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board stripped the Washington Redskins of six trademark registrations after concluding the football team’s name was disparaging to Native Americans, and thus in violation of laws banning offensive language. Although to many Americans it’s the locational part of the name that is most repugnant. Especially those Americans known to party with cups of tea.
The USPTO made a similar ruling back in 1999, but it was overturned, and may very well be again. Because as we all know, the government is fond of doing the same thing over and over and over again. Expecting different results.
Conservatives fear this kind of political correctness will snowball, causing many nicknames to be spurned. For instance: should the Pittsburgh Pirates be compelled to switch their name because it’s offensive to families who have been pillaged? The Green Bay Packers due to folks harboring nightmares concerning broken lamps? The commissioners could forestall this movement by declaring all sports teams be named after marsupials.
What about the Fighting Irish? Does anybody really think that drunken Leprechauns with fists cocked are responsible role models for today’s university students? The Utah Jazz is an odious appellation to anybody possessing a modicum of musical taste. And the name of the state of Oklahoma is Choctaw for red people. Should they be forced to repeal their name or can we just get rid of the state altogether?
How about individuals? Doesn’t the same logic mandate that anybody named Manson or Hitler alter their name so as not to remind victims’ relatives of their grisly crimes? Adolf? Charlie? What about Bush? Clinton? Kardashian?
And if Daniel Snyder, the owner of the 3rd most valuable NFL franchise, according to Forbes Magazine, does cave to the rising cries of boycott, which direction will he head? Reportedly, the team has already filed for the trademark of Washington Warriors, but that doesn’t really distill the essence of the town. The Senators won’t work. Baseball tried and it depressed the players so much the team was forced to move. Twice.
He could capture the true spirit of the town with... the Washington Slippery Slopes. The Ethical Sliders. Corrupters. Prevaricators. The Hogs works and even has sentimental ties.
If you want intimidating, how bout the Washington Lobbyists? The Patent Lawyers. Under Secretaries. The Filibusterers. The Kickbacks has a vague football feel. The Mindless Horde. The Red Inks wouldn’t necessitate the need to buy new letters for the stadium exterior.
But, if honoring the proud indigenous nations of America is, as the team claims, the actual goal, how about the Washington Treaty Breakers. Or the Plague Blankets- which is pretty damn scary. And finally, to keep the natural rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys intact- the Washington Barbed Wires.
Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic.