Taking the emotion out of the Redskins name issue, and looking at it strictly from a realistic standpoint.

June 18th, 2014 at 8:56 pm by under Sports

In regards to today’s decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration, a federal judge overturned same ruling just five years ago after a 10-year appeals process. Even after today’s ruling, nothing changes regarding the team’s trademark while an appeal process runs it course. It could be another decade long process, depending on where the team’s attorneys file the appeal and they will. So today’s decision has no immediate effect (or even long term effect) on the team in any way.

There is still no indication that NFL owners, NFL officials, NFL players, season ticket holders, sponsors of the team, television networks or large number of Redskins fans are encouraging owner Daniel Snyder in any way to change the team’s name. In fact most Redskins players are against the change. And more importantly, there is no legal precedent to force Snyder to do it if he doesn’t want to.

In Snyder’s view there is no economic reason to change the name since no season tickets holders are refusing to buy tickets or beers or hot dogs. No sponsors are threatening to cancel their contracts with the Redskins. TV networks including NBC, FOX, CBS or ESPN ($25 billion dollars to the teams) are not seeing any indication that viewers will stop watching Redskins or NFL games, so neither the networks nor their sponsors are putting any pressure at all on the team or league to encourage Snyder to change the name. To the contrary, the vast majority of Snyder’s customers are against any name change.

In regards to any financial advantage for Snyder changing the name. Snyder is totally convinced he would lose money if he had to change the name.

The Redskins take in $375 million per year. The vast majority of the money comes from TV, radio, tickets, parking, concessions and then merchandise. The Redskins are not even in the top 10 teams in merchandise sales. But more importantly, if they changed the name, and came out with all new clothing, and other merchandise, they would have to split the money equally with the other teams in the league. So even if every Redskins fan buys all new stuff if they change the name, the Redskins only receive 1/32nd of that money. According to the team’s accountants, this would not come close to offset what it would cost the team to make a name change (throwing out everything that says Redskins on it and buying everything new—stadium signs, books, letterhead, so many other expenses)–so that idea is an uninformed myth.

Conclusion, I just don’t see the name being changed unless the owner decides to have a change of heart. And there is no indication that will happen.

In fact, the owner is adamant that not only Redskins fans, sponsors and TV viewers, but the vast majority of American’s don’t find the name offensive, and he vows never to change the name as long as he owns the team. He says he has the research to back it up. And he is the only person that has the power to make the change.

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3 Responses to “Taking the emotion out of the Redskins name issue, and looking at it strictly from a realistic standpoint.”

  1. Rebel says:

    I don’t see this going anywhere at all. In fact we might be lucky if the Redskins do not sue the US Government, which in case we’ve forgotten, would involve tax dollars to defend this ridiculous attack on a sports team. I doubt it’ll have the desired short term (or long term) effect those pushing a name change want.

  2. Peggy R says:

    Thanks! a reasonable point of view from someone in the media. Facts are facts. The media sh^t storm is not real. Its stirred up by a tiny minority mostly made up of journalists.

  3. Great post!! You hit the nail on the head, and the only way that Snyder will have a change of heart is if he has a change in his bank account. A free market is the only thing that will dictate a change in the name, regardless of how much a very vocal but very small minority protests against it. Until there is a backlash in the teams ticket and merchandise sales, this whole issue is a moot point.

    The other thing that most people fail to realize in regards to today’s ruling is that it means absolutely nothing. Having a federal trademark simply gives you the legal standing to protect your mark and to clear up any “gray” areas surrounding ownership. A federal trademark says that you own a name, logo, etc., and that the government recognizes in a court of law that you were the creator and first to present it publicly. Since we are nearing close to 100 years of history for the Washington Redskins and their logos, common law will still dictate that they own their names, logos and likenesses; and any court in the land will side with the Redskins in a case regarding infringement of those items. It would be no different than if I started to market and sell “Bruce Rader Sports Anchor” T-shirts without your consent. Even though your name and likeness is not trademarked, common law would side with you in a case against me due to your popularity and history in our market.

    While some think that this ruling would force the Redskins hand because they can’t control their image on merchandise, that is not the case. The Redskins would still have the legal means to stop any unauthorized use of their brand.

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