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

D.J. WilliamsAug 22 05:12p

Free-agent DT Anthony McCloud (Cardinals), WR Jabin Sambrano (Falcons), DT Marcus Forston (Patriots), TE D.J. Williams (Patriots) and DE James Ruffin (Buccaneers) all cleared waivers Friday, Aug. 22.

Damien WilliamsAug 22 04:58p

Miami Dolphins RB Damien Williams has leapfrogged RBs Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee on the depth chart.

Jalil BrownAug 22 03:22p

The Miami Dolphins released CB Jalil Brown Friday, Aug. 22.

Michael EgnewAug 22 03:02p

The Miami Dolphins waived TE Michael Egnew Friday, Aug. 22.

Emmanuel SandersAug 22 11:22a

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (quadriceps) had a full practice Thursday, Aug. 21, and he could play in his first preseason game Saturday, Aug. 23.

Isaac RedmanAug 22 10:52a

Free-agent RB Isaac Redman (back) said he is no longer able to play football after suffering a spinal cord injury in 2013.

Christian PonderAug 22 10:42a

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater is entrenched as the No. 2 quarterback, and the team is confident with him there. QB Christian Ponder could be traded if he performs [ More ]

Brandon BostickAug 22 08:22a

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers TE Brandon Bostick (leg) has a slight fracture of his fibula and could return by Week 2 or Week 3.

Sean SpenceAug 22 01:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Sean Spence (knee) and Jason Worilds (knee) are not expected to have suffered serious knee injuries during the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21, according to sources.

Doug MartinAug 22 12:52a

Tampa Bay Buccaners RB Doug Martin was called the team's 'bell cow' running back by head coach Lovie Smith.

Heath MillerAug 22 12:42a

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Heath Miller had a team-high five catches for 53 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown reception, in the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21.

Nick FolesAug 22 12:12a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles completed 19 of 29 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and one interception during the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21. He led [ More ]

LeSean McCoyAug 21 11:42p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (thumb) said he expects to be ready for the regular season after spraining his right thumb during the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21.

Sammy WatkinsAug 21 10:22p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) did not participate in team drills during practice Thursday, Aug. 21, and he has not been cleared to play in the team's preseason game Saturday, Aug. 23.

Max StarksAug 21 09:32p

Arizona Cardinals OT Max Starks (ankle), LB Kevin Minter (pectoral) and OG Jonathan Cooper (toe) did not practice Thursday, Aug. 21.

Brandin CooksAug 21 09:12p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks (illness) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday, Aug. 21, and he is questionable for the team's preseason game Saturday, Aug. 23, [ More ]

Victor ButlerAug 21 09:12p

New Orleans Saints CB Rod Sweeting (undisclosed) and LB Victor Butler (undisclosed) did conditioning work on the side with trainers during practice Thursday, Aug. 21.

LeSean McCoyAug 21 09:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy's (thumb) X-rays on his right thumb came back negative, but he will not return to the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21.

Jeremy MaclinAug 21 08:52p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin (knee) walked off the field under his own power after falling and clutching his right knee during the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21.

LeSean McCoyAug 21 08:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (thumb) left the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21, and went to the locker room for X-rays on his right thumb.

Le'Veon BellAug 21 07:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell started against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night as he waits for a possible suspension after being charged for driving under the influence and marijuana possession.

Kenny BrittAug 21 07:32p

St. Louis Rams WR Kenny Britt (shoulder) may sit out of the team's preseason game against the Cleveland Browns Saturday, Aug. 23, with a shoulder injury. Britt did practice this week, however.

William HayesAug 21 07:32p

St. Louis Rams WR Jordan Harris (undisclosed), LB Pat Schiller (undisclosed), DE Sammy Brown (calf), DT Matt Conrath (undisclosed), DE William Hayes (undisclosed) OG Barrett Jones (back) and C [ More ]

J. VanderveldeAug 21 06:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Josh Huff (shoulder), RB Chris Polk (hamstring), WR Brad Smith (undisclosed), CB Brandon Boykin (leg), LB Jake Knott (hamstring) and C Julian Vandervelde (back) are not [ More ]

Reggie WayneAug 21 05:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee) is a game-time decision against the New Orleans Saints Saturday, Aug. 23, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Darnell DockettAug 21 05:12p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Thursday, Aug. 21.

Fendi OnobunAug 21 05:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Fendi Onobun (knee) has cleared waivers and was placed on Reserve/Injured Thursday, Aug. 2.

Mike CaussinAug 21 05:12p

Washington Redskins TE Mike Caussin (undisclosed) was placed on Reserve/Injured Thursday, Aug. 21.

Isaiah PeadAug 21 05:12p

St. Louis Rams RB Isaiah Pead (knee) has cleared waivers and was placed on Reserve/Injured Thursday, Aug. 2.

Joe MaysAug 21 04:42p

Kansas City Chiefs LB Joe Mays (wrist) will have surgery on his wrist, according to a source. Mays was hurt in last week's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. [ More ]

Eric WeemsAug 21 04:02p

The Atlanta Falcons signed free-agent WR Eric Weems (Bears) Thursday, Aug. 21. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Manti Te'oAug 21 03:42p

San Diego Chargers OG Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip), WR Vincent Brown (calf), LB Manti Te'o (foot), DT Sean Lissemore (ankle), SS Jahleel Addae (hamstring), DE Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group