Redskins Will Now Sue Native Americans For Being Offended

Dan Snyder is the owner of the Washington Redskins and arguably the single most stubborn man in all of America.  Snyder refuses to believe that his team name is offensive no matter how many Native Americans, the object of the racial slur found in his team’s name, tell him so.  This is literally the same as if the team name was the N-word and Snyder were telling black people to not be offended because the name isn’t offensive.  But you know all of this.

What you may not know is that, thanks to the complaints of several Native Americans to the US Patent and Trademark office, the Redskins lost some of their trademarks.  The Redskins are now going to sue those particular complainants, which is to say the Native Americans who were offended by the name, for being offended.  This is as crazy as it sounds.

The Redskins could have taken their complaint to an appeals court, but by going to trial they have a little more latitude in how to present their case, but that means naming those who complained about their trademarks in the first place as “persons of interest” in a trial and a judge agreed they should be present.

It’s an amazing testament to how much spare time people in America, in this case Dan Snyder have, that this is still an issue.  Sure the team name has a history, but as John Oliver pointed out, if we’re comparing histories, the people who were in this land before white people even knew it existed probably win that one.  But really, does Dan Snyder get to decide what’s offensive?  And must all Native Americans agree before anyone cares?

There are several million Natives in the US and Canada in a number of different tribes, which makes the native community far more diverse than just talking simply about “Indians.”  Do the Navajo tribes have the same concerns as Oneida?  What about Chippewa? The Sioux?  Cree? Mohawk? Ojibwe? As the superintendent of the Red Mesa school district on the Navajo Nation reservation said, he’s more concerned about bussing kids to school and having clean water.  In the grand scheme of things the name of a football team is insignificant and stupid.  And that’s why Dan Snyder’s stubborn deathgrip is so infuriating.

The argument about the history of the name is a red herring.  It’s less than 100 years, it’s insignificant.  Teams change names constantly.  The Titans used to be the Oilers. The Texans became the Chiefs. In the NBA teams change names like players change jerseys.  The Hornets just became the Bobcats and the Pelicans in two different cities; they changed their name twice and became two new teams for God’s sake.  Names are pretty arbitrary.

What Snyder thinks he’s holding on to is money, in a lazy way.  When the Toronto Raptors set up their franchise they made naming the team part of a contest to involve fans and had huge success.  Raptors merchandise became huge.  Even the damn Pelicans can sell jerseys and their name and mascot are horrible.  The Redskins could scrap the name and start over with good PR, a project to involve fans and the fun of fresh new ideas which would actually lead to a cash boost as fans buy in to the new name, the new logo and all that.  No one except Dan Snyder cares about the name that much.  Sure, some fans are behind the team, but even if you’re a diehard Redskins fan for three generations, if they turned into the Washington Haberdashers tomorrow, they’d still be 3-6 on the season and Robert Griffin III would still be a mediocre quarterback at best.

Anyway, rather than any of that, the Redskins will just sue people who are offended by their name.  Let’s see how that pans out for them.