Football / Sports

Redskins say team name isn't offensive because it's a proper noun

The Washington Redskins have been clinging desperately to a team name that has come under increased fire of late as being offensive to Native Americans.

How desperate are they? Check out this sentence from the team's federal appeal, filed Thursday, to a June decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to strip the franchise of its trademark protection because the name is disparaging of Native Americans:

"Even if the term 'redskin,' used in singular, lower case form, refers to an ethnic group, the term is not disparaging when employed as a proper noun, as a team name, in the context of professional football."

Got that?

This sentence, first reported by TMZ, is basically saying what owner Dan Snyder and the organization has been claiming all along, that the name isn't offensive because they don't mean it in that way.

Kind of hard for them to argue that the word is being used only "in the context of professional football," though, when it's often accompanied by a logo that features the face of a Native American man.

And do words really become less offensive when they are in uppercase form?

Seems like the Redskins are grasping, but don't forget that the team was able to get a similar ruling overturned on a technicality back in 2003. In other words, anything could happen as this case works its way through the system.

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