In an effort to spread a better understanding of Native Americans and why a name change is appropriate for the Washington Redskins, the Change the Mascot campaign in association with the National Congress of American Indians broadcasted the powerful “Proud to Be” video to televisions across the country during the recent NBA Finals.
With the Washington Redskins’ kick-off of their first pre-season game just days away, things may appear to be business as usual. Yet, Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, has received continued political pressure to change the team’s mascot and change the name.
In June 2014, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office found the name Redskins disparaging of Native Americans and cancelled the team’s trademark. The ruling stems from a 2006 case brought against the NFL by five Native American representatives of four different tribes.
In spite of the federal decision to cancel the Redskins trademark, a genuine name change will only come about by a unified effort from all people. An ESPN SportsNation poll found that among 206,534 voters only 36% favored a name change for the Washington team.
Change the Mascot is asking all people to be a part of this movement for change. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are Native American. Racism affects us all. Check out “What are you #ProudToBe” and the Twitter stream #NotYourMascot to see current opinions and to get involved.
Through the appeal of the trademark cancellation and the recently launched public relations site, Redskins Facts, it is clear Dan Snyder is as reluctant as ever to change the name. Conversely, it is unclear what the trademark ruling will ultimately mean for the Washington team. ESPN reports the following:
- First, the ruling doesn’t mean the name has to be changed. In fact, the team could continue using the name, “but it would lose a significant portion of its ability to protect the financial interests connected to it.”
- Second, the team’s logo is still protected under trademark laws.
- Third, the Washington team has appealed the court’s decision, meaning the name will remain trademarked until an appeal decision is reached; this could take years.
Yet, there is hope. Outside of the political arena, we as a nation are far from agreed on a name change and this controversy is far from over for the Washington Redskins. Considering all of this, the 2014-2015 football season should be an interesting one.