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Hail and Farewell?

By Dave McKenna (The City Paper)

Something rings phony about Dan Snyder's plan to turn the Redskins' 2002 season into a commemorative extravaganza, with special "70th Anniversary" uniforms and all-time teams named by expert panels. For starters, the franchise that is now the Washington Redskins has played as the Redskins for only 69 years and in Washington for only 65. Even if the math worked out, anniversary etiquette usually dictates that only multiples of 25 are worth making hay about. And the alleged replica uniforms Snyder recently unveiled don't replicate anything the team has worn in its history-however long that history may be.

So what's really going on here? Could Snyder's antics be intended not as a tribute to his team but a smoke screen to cover the impending demise of the Washington Redskins-and the dawn of the Washington Warriors?


"I think there's a chance he'll rename the team," says Mary Fran Love, a professor at George Mason University Law School. "I think he's heading toward 'Warriors.'"

Love's specialty is trademark law. And in recent school years, she has forced her classes to study the Redskins mark. Not because she's a longtime fan of the team but because of the 1999 ruling of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a division of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in Harjo vs. Pro Football Inc.

That case was brought by Suzan Shown Harjo, a Native American activist who believed that allowing the name "Redskins" federal trademark protections violated a portion of the Lanham Act. That bill, which governs U.S. trademark law and was signed by Harry Truman in 1946, prohibits the registration of any mark that "may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute."

Harjo contended that "Redskins" was disparaging to a sizable portion of her community, and to back up that claim, she provided the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board with research showing that a sizable portion of the American Indians in her survey were offended by the team's name. The frequent use of "Redskin" could also bring her people into contempt or disrepute, Harjo further asserted.

The board accepted Harjo's argument and, rather quietly, voided seven of the trademarks registered by Pro Football Inc., the corporate owner of the Redskins. The team's name and helmet logo were among the marks canceled. That was the first time a professional sports franchise's trademark registration had ever been annulled.

The board's decision didn't throw the Redskins' trademarks into the public domain, however. Snyder quickly filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals to have the annulment annulled. A ruling in his appeal isn't expected anytime soon.

"You tend to think that big money usually wins in these cases, and in this case, Dan Snyder has all the money," Love says. "But this could be different. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board generally releases opinions that are short and to the point. But the Harjo opinion is 65 pages long, so they clearly wanted to make sure they'd crossed all their T's, so that if they were reviewed, they would be found to be nonreversible. I think this could be upheld. And then it would go to the Supreme Court, where literally anything can happen."

And even if Snyder, who has always maintained he'll never change the Redskins name, loses those trademarks, he's got others to fall back on. Such as, for example, "Warriors."

In the spring of 2000, Snyder applied with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register "Warriors" under Washington Football Inc. The goods and services described in his application were "entertainment services in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions." (He had registered "Skins" three months earlier.)

The filing appeared innocuous enough at first. "Warriors" is the name that Snyder said he was going to use for a Washington franchise in the Arena Football League, the rights to which he purchased in 1999. That squad, Snyder said when buying into the AFL, would start play in 2003.

Snyder's push for an arena team, however, sure seems to have petered out since then. Snyder planned at first to house the indoor plaything in a new 12,000-seat arena, to be built on several dozen acres he'd purchased near FedEx Field in 2000. But that venue was never built, and there are no longer any plans to build it. Snyder approached other buildings in the area to see if they'd host his team, but that search didn't garner any lease. Though Snyder is a University of Maryland alum, the school has announced that its Comcast Center, which opens on campus next year, won't be interested in having his team as a tenant. And the location that at one time seemed most logical-the Capital Centre (formerly called US Airways Arena, now back to its birth name), which sits on property that Snyder already leases for FedEx Field parking-will likely be torn down soon, as Prince George's County developers announced last week.

Snyder has made no announcements about his indoor-football plans in a long while, but the Chicago-based AFL now admits that the Washington franchise is not in its plan for next season.

"[snyder] will not have a team in 2003," says Tom Goodhines, a spokesperson for the AFL. "I'm not sure of his reasoning for not having a team."

Goodhines says that Snyder's franchise agreement allows him an extra year to have the team ready but adds that the league has no indication that the Redskins owner has yet made any moves to set up an organization to accomplish that.

Recently, however, Snyder put some of his arena league efforts to use. The so-called "throwback" logo the Redskins will wear on their helmets for home games this year-a white-and-gold arrow with feathers-is the one Snyder unveiled as the Warriors' logo when he bought the indoor franchise three years ago.

So could the name soon follow?

"He's obviously trying to build some good will for that new logo now," says Love, "and if the other side wins in his legal case, the new logo would make for a smoother transition to a new name, and 'Warriors' would be a good fit. His filings with [the Patent and Trademark Office] don't indicate that 'Warriors' is only for an arena team, so it could be transferred to the Redskins. It's not crazy to think this could happen."

Until the litigation is resolved, Love intends to keep students abreast of any and all developments. But she's noticed some flagging interest in Snyder's travails among her pupils ever since the Supreme Court announced which cases it would hear this session.

"The Supreme Court said it will hear the case where Victoria's Secret sued a sex shop named Victor's Little Secret over its trademark," she says. "And lately, the students would rather beat up on the porn shop than talk about the Redskins." CP

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My wife went to Milford High School in Milford, Michigan. They were the "Redskins" up there. They even used the same indian head logo that we do. But they are changing their name because of outside pressure. They will either be the Patriots, Mavericks or something else I can't remember. Anyway, I hope that Danny will stay strong and ignore all the crack-pot liberals out there that have too much time on their hands.

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I think I would be sick to my stomach if they changed the name to the Warriors. Thats just like, completely ignoring the tradition that we've worked to build for the last 70 years. That's horse crap. Forget it. I'm with escholz, stay strong danny. Stay strong.

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The City Paper's making news where there isn't any. Not one original thought in the piece. Not one idea that hasn't been bounced off this board a dozen times. But then again, it's The City Paper. :rolleyes:

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Hmm... well... washingtonwarriors.com is owned by some guy in Texas. Redskins.com is owned by the NFL. Warriors.com is owned by the NBA, for the Golden State Warriors.

Would Danny really want to have to deal with another professional sports team having the same name?

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Although i'm a die hard fan of the team, it's a stupid name.

Red-Skins. What is the meaning of the name. What does it represent.

It is offensive to a large percentage of a group of people who have already been grossly mistreated in this country.

If I were to start an NFL franchise and named the Caucasian Devils or the Washington Enslavers (with a pic of Christopher Columbus on the helmet) it would be deemed offensive.

Native Americans don't have the power alone to fight such issues and concerns, while other ethnicities do.....

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teams are changing cities and names so frequently these days that it may be unrealistic to believe we will have a lot of 70 or 80 year nicknames or logos.

every time a team changes its logo or uniform or name it makes money.

and if Snyder thinks he ultimately will lose money by keeping the name 'Redskins' if the court looks as if it is going to back the efforts of these pressure groups, I think you will see a change.

Personally, if I were starting a team now in 2002 instead of 1932, I would not use the name Redskins.

I don't think many people would.

Boston already had the Braves so Redskins was just another way of using the 'Indian' theme for a sports team back then..................

Some team names SHOULD have been changed because of teams moving:

Utah Jazz? This makes no sense at all.

Memphis Grizzlies? There are no grizzlies in the Eastern US. :laugh:

How about the Montreal Expos moving to DC and retaining the name 'Expos'??? That would be pretty silly.

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The funny thing is that the arrgument centers on what a "redskin" really is.

The Redskins state that the term recognized the Plains indians who used to paint their face red before going into battle. The team supposedly has loads of academic papers to back this up.

The opponents in this case argue that the term Redskin primarily refers to when the US Government sanctioned the legal scalping of Native Americans. Rather than saying we pay for the scalps of Indians (which is a misnomer anyways - but we wont go into that)...the term Redskin was used because the color of the scalp was usually red due to a whole lot of blood. :puke:

The opponents of the name have a whole mess of academic papers to back it up also.

For me - I dont care what the name is - as long as its still the same franchise that my boyhood idols Riggins, Butz, the Fun Bunch, etc... played for. Call them Warriors, Skins, Redskins, whatever - I will still root for them.


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I think this 70th anniversay is a marketing tatic.

Someone could find fault with just about any team's nickname.

Cowboys for example...they mistreated cows, killed Buffaloes,

and dig spurs into the side of their horses. That is mistreating


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I hope this is all rumors but here is what I think:

The reason why Mr. Snyder is unveiling the Commemorative 70th Anniversary Jerseys, Logos and other festivities is this year instead of waiting until the 75th Anniversary like most teams do is, why wait 5 years until the 75th Anniversary of the Redskins or 10 years for the 75th Anniversary of the team moving to Washington to sell all this merchandise when you can do it now and make $$$$ now!

As for the 69 years of the team, that is true the team started 69 years ago but this will be their 70th season. Example I have the Washington Redskins 50th Anniversary Patch from 1986 and it has 1937-1986 on it. Kind on like the recent Super Bowl was 36 but it the Super Bowl has been plaid for 35 years.

But on the flip side, all this could be a smoke screen even if Mr. Snyder said he would not rename the team, remember he said he would not rename the Stadium but in his first year he re-named it Washington Redskin Stadium and then Fed Ex Field.

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Someone could find fault with just about any team's nickname. Cowboys for example...they mistreated cows, killed Buffaloes, and dig spurs into the side of their horses. That is mistreating animals.

And don't get me started on Texans!!

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I support the Name change. I root for the fine tradition that has been played on the field by our noble franchise.

My college, Dartmouth, changed years ago from the Dartmouth "Indians". While I still haven't figured out what a Dartmouth "Big Green" logo is suppose to be, I am still proud of what the school represents and has accomplished.

If Dartmouth had been renamed the "Dartmouth Darkies",or our team renamed the "Washington Whiteboys", people might realize that there is offense to the name "Redskins", regardless of any self-serving academic justification.

"Warriors" is a kick-a** monomer that we can all live with.


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I found this in Der Skoop, a leading Danish weekly:

KOPENHAVN----His Royal Highness, King Helgolath of Denmark, has expressed his disgust and offense at the team name of a professional American football club, the Minnesota Vikings.

"The Minnesota team has misappropriated our heritage for their own pugilistic and commercial purposes," remarked his Highness at an assembly of pacifists in Roskilde. "Vikings were master seafarers and merchants, not the rampaging bezerkers portrayed by an entire millennium of English-based propaganda." The assembly answered his Highness's remarks with a stroking of beards. "We hereby demand that the American football team in Minnesota change its name, from the Vikings to the Minions of Odin."

Randy Moss refused to comment, probably because he doesn't know Denmark exists.

In a related story, Pat Robertson, a leading evangelist in America, has joined King Helgolath in objecting to the Minnesota team's name, on the grounds that it promotes paganism.

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Quite an interesting article. Regardless of our individual beliefs about whether or not the team should change it's name I think we can all agree on one point. The Danny loves his Redskins, but he obviously loves the $$$ a he11 of a lot more. If he somehow does lose the trademark protection over the Skins name, logo etc. I think he'll change it in a heartbeat....no thoughts, no compunctions sorry folks but that's just the way it had to be (I can hear him saying it now). Dude is a businessman and as such he has to contingency plan for all possiblities.

In a way, it makes me sad to think my beloved team could be in for a big change that for the most part I wouldn't want. However, at the same time, it's good to know that the guy who owns and runs said beloved franchise is on top of things and taking care of business because as we all know, the economic viability of a team directly affects the product it is able to put on the field.

Oh well :rolleyes: I guess that's just the way life is in the "enlightened" age we live in.

I still think the best way out of this mess is to go with the spear logo on the helmets, and change the MASCOT to a peanut. ;) That way, unless redskin peanuts all of a sudden gain sentience and the ability to talk we'd be safe and the name could stay the same.

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"That way, unless redskin peanuts all of a sudden gain sentience and the ability to talk we'd be safe and the name could stay the same."

Not true, Yusef.

There is a large and growing number of children with severe allergic reactions to peanuts. It wouldn't be fair to parade around a bunch of delcious-looking peanuts in front of a crowd which MAY contain some kids who can't enjoy them. That's discrimination!!!


Seriously, I'm so tired of all of this talk. I honestly don't care one way or the other (which is strange since I'm such a long-time fan, but I really don't). If they keep the name ... great! If they change it I'll be right there pulling for 'em. I can't believe how much time and evergy people put into this sh!t. I mean ...

what's in a name?

I do like those new uniforms, though. I'd like to see them all the time.

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Personaly I hope we can keep the Redskins name but if it is not possible or becomes too much of a liability, Warriors would be a good choice. At least it doesn't throw out all of the tradition. It could even be considered an evolution of the Redskins name. I wouldn't worry too much about the warriors.com domain. The Danny can afford to buy it :cool:

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I like the name Redskins and always will. That's what I grew up with and that's what I know.

It'd be very strange, indeed, hollerin' for the "Warriors", I'll tell you that. But then again, people got used to the name "Wizards". Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer the "Bullets".

Anyway, I'm with Yusef, let's make it all about peanuts.:laugh:

Redskin peanuts, that is.

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This is just one more "issue" for liberals to bi-ch about......they're losing ground so fast it's pathetic. This is an old "bait the conservative" routine that is just plain getting old.


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what is interesting, and a bit tragic as well, is that Native Americans don't usually get any kind of media voice or advocacy from the mainstream UNLESS it is as a result of protesting the name of the Redskins, Braves, Indians and other sports nicknames.

it annoys me to no end that we often settle for fighting over the superficial and the symbolism of things rather than work to delve into any deeper issues in society.

it is entirely with the selfish gratification we see today that somebody will write a letter to get the name changed, see that happen over time and then pat themselves on the back for being such an enlightened human being.

Name changed = guilt and therefore 'problem' solved.........

well, not really, but..........................

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