2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Challenge to Redskins name begins anew at hearing

By JOSEPH WHITE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-03-07 17:24

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen attended his first trademark hearing Thursday. He heard lawyers and judges fuss over dictionaries, surveys and the actions of offended 18-year-olds while using terms such as ``hearsay exception'' and ``Chevron deference,'' all in a debate over the team's nickname.

``There was one reference to a delay of game penalty,'' Allen said, ``which was the football part that I understood.''

As the 90-minute hearing before three judges on the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board showed, the case against the team is not as simple as declaring that the word ``redskins'' is a slur and therefore shouldn't have federal trademark protection. The group of five Native American petitioners has to show that the name ``Washington Redskins'' was disparaging to a significant population of American Indians back when the team was granted the trademarks from 1967 to 1990.

There won't be a resolution any time soon. Lawyers said they expect the judges to take as long as a year to issue a ruling, and the Redskins are sure to appeal if it doesn't go their way. A similar case, ultimately won by the team, was filed in 1992 and needed 17 years to go through the legal system before the Supreme Court declined to intervene.

The Redskins lost this round the first time. The board stripped the club of its trademark protection in 1999, but the ruling was overturned on appeal in part because the courts decided that the plaintiffs were too old and had thus waited too long to make their complaint.

This new case was filed in 2006 by a group of five Native Americans aged between 18 and 24, but even that isn't good enough for Redskins lawyer Robert Raskopf, who told the judges that the 18-year-olds waited nearly a year to join the fray and ``should've been ready to file on Day One'' upon turning 18 if they were truly offended.

The judges didn't seem impressed by that argument.

``One year is too much?'' judge Peter Cataldo asked with a hint of incredulity.

But the judges also gave the Native Americans' lawyer a grilling, asking him to state the best evidence for his case and stopping him frequently as he gave his answers. Attorney Jesse Witten cited opposition to the name by the National Congress of American Indians - although there was some uncertainty as to how many tribes the NCAI represented at the time - and the overall use of the word ``redskin'' in the public realm, leading both sides to cite opinion polls and the way the word is defined in literally scores of decades-old dictionaries.

The Redskins maintain the name honors Native Americans and that they don't mean to offend anybody, but two of the judges questioned that line of thinking. Cataldo said if the team could have called itself the ``Washington N-word'' with nothing but honorable intentions and still be subject to scrutiny.

The board can't stop the Redskins from using the name, but the loss of trademark protection would hurt the team financially from a marketing perspective, enough, the plaintiffs hope, for owner Dan Snyder to consider a change.

Allen was subject to his own set of tough questioning afterward by reporters, when he cited the Redskins history, championships and television ratings in defense of the name.

``If you look at everything that we represent, you'll find that the Washington Redskins has a positive image,'' Allen said. ``And much more positive this year with a winning season. Our television ratings, our fans, our Washington Redskins charitable organization and what it's done for this community.''

Asked about the Native Americans who find the name offensive, Allen said: ``I'm not going to respond to that, because I don't know if it's been proven.''

``I'm sure there's a handful of critics to anything in our country and anything in sports,'' he added.

Allen reiterated that there were no plans to change the name, even though momentum against ``Redskins'' has been growing in recent weeks, spurred by a high-profile symposium at the Smithsonian that detailed its dubious history.

``Our history is something to be proud of,'' he said. ``Five world championships. Some of the greatest games, some of the greatest characters who have ever played in the NFL were Washington Redskins. I don't think you can just turn your back on that, and we don't plan on doing that.''

---

Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

Kai ForbathApr 15 10:53p

Washington Redskins restricted free-agent PK Kai Forbath posted on social media Wednesday, April 15, that he has re-signed with the team. The club has not yet confirmed the signing.

George JohnsonApr 15 08:33a

Detroit Lions DE George Johnson was acquired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, April 15. Tampa signed Johnson to an offer sheet that was disputed by Detroit, but the [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 15 12:13a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers is under contract for one more season, and he has expressed a desire to play out his deal. However, the Chargers might be [ More ]

Josh GordyApr 14 06:03p

Free-agent CB Josh Gordy (Colts) signed a veteran minimum deal with the New York Giants Tuesday, April 14, according to a source.

Ricardo LocketteApr 14 05:23p

Seattle Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette signed his exclusive-rights tender Tuesday, April 14.

Ike TaylorApr 14 09:32a

Free-agent CB Ike Taylor (Steelers) announced his retirement Tuesday, April 14.

Wade SmithApr 14 02:12a

Free-agent OG Wade Smith (Eagles) announced his retirement after 12 years in the National Football League.

Michael CrabtreeApr 14 01:13a

The Oakland Raiders are giving free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) a one-year, $3 million deal with another $2 million in incentives, a source said Monday, April 13.

Eben BrittonApr 14 01:03a

Free-agent OT Eben Britton (Bears) has been suspended four games by the NFL for an unspecified violation.

Matt ForteApr 13 08:02p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was not present for the start of the offseason workouts Monday, April 13, according to sources. Forte is entering the final year of his [ More ]

Cody LatimerApr 13 08:02p

Denver Broncos WR Cody Latimer, who is expected to line up across from WR Demaryius Thomas in 2015, has been praised by WR Emmanuel Sanders, who figures to move [ More ]

Joe MaysApr 13 04:32p

Free-agent LB Joe Mays (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Monday, April 13.

Zackary BowmanApr 13 02:22p

Free-agent CB Zack Bowman (Giants) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Monday, April 13.

Sean RichardsonApr 13 02:02p

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson will remain with the Packers after the team decided to match the one-year, $2.55 million offer he signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to a source.

Sean RichardsonApr 12 10:02a

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson signed an offer sheet with the Oakland Raiders, and the Packers have until Monday, April 13, to inform him if they [ More ]

Jason CampbellApr 12 07:02a

Free-agent QB Jason Campbell (Bengals) is considering retirement, according to sources close to the team. Campbell has rejected multiple opportunities to sign a contract for 2015, including offers from [ More ]

James CaseyApr 11 01:02p

Free-agent TE James Casey (Eagles) agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Saturday, April 11. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Johnny ManzielApr 11 12:22p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel has been released from his rehab facility.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group