As part of a thing that goes way beyond the scope of this blog, the Washington Redskins were dealt a severe blow today when the U.S. Patent Office canceled team owner Dan Snyder’s trademark on the team name. That’s right, the trademark was canceled and that means we’re all free to use the Redskins name however we please, with or without the NFL’s consent. Can you hear it, the voice after a game telling us in no uncertain terms that we were merely allowed to watch the game and cannot do anything with it afterward? That voice is now resoundingly clear telling us that football in Washington has changed forever.
The team may continue to use the name for as long as they would like, but this decision hits them where it hurts us all the most, in their wallet.
The NFL salary cap is largely comprised of funds from sales of official merchandise by the teams in the league. Trademarks issued to NFL teams for their names and logos allow for each team, and the league, to hold the monopoly on replicating and distributing their brand. This ruling effectively strips Dan Snyder and the NFL of any recourse to stop fans and other companies from reproducing officially licensed merchandise for the Redskins and selling those reproductions at-will.
How many of you are willing to pay $85.00 – $170.00 for an official NFL approved Redskins jersey when other vendors are selling them for half price?
Of course, the team logo was not affected by the patent offices decision so we’re still speaking hypothetically regarding non-NFL vendor sales, but there is still plenty of demand for designs for shirts, jerseys and hats that just feature the team name, without their logo.
We’re a Dallas Cowboys blog so I’ve probably been asking nothing but rhetorical questions of you about buying Deadskin’s merchandise, but we have to understand news like this because it affects all of the NFL.
I’d expect Snyder & Co. to react swiftly with an appeal, which would effectively retain their trademark until a ruling has been made. Then, if the appeal fails to secure their right to the Redskins name, a name change would be in order for the sake of retaining the revenue generated by the team for the NFL. Those profits are used to pay for everything from player contracts and broadcasting expenses to mopping around the toilet in the first floor men’s room at the stadium.
[toggle title=”A Brief Rant on Political Correctness – Skip it if you don’t like it“]Because I brought it up and because I happen to be completely incapable of filtering my opinions on political issues – This ruling is complete bullshit. The bobble-heads in Washington got on a crusade to achieve a truly professional level of political correctness and the Redskins are paying the price for that. There has been just as much support from the Native American community for the team and its name as there has been opposed to them, but the opposition has the advantage of bending the right Liberal ears in Washington. Tyranny in the making folks, it truly is, and this is just one small step toward the ultimate goals of these anti-American nitwits on the left.[/toggle]
So, with that out of the way (and thank you for indulging my little anti-Statist rant) let’s talk about what’s next for the Washington Redskins. It’s a fair bet that as long as the appeal is done before this time next year, when the upcoming November elects have been able to get settled and possibly make some changes that affect this whole deal, that the Redskins will lose their trademark indefinitely.
Let me hear your suggestions on possible names they could use. I appreciate the haters as much as the next guy, but let’s hear some serious suggestions because this situation is far from anything football. It’s serious.
I made a production-ready mock-up of the logo with the new name I propose – the Washington Indians. Since they still hold their rights to the logo it’s obviously fitting that the name should stay in the Native American theme, or so I think.
But I want your opinions. Comments are now open.