Wednesday morning brought with it the entirely odd news that the US Patent And Trademark Office cancelled the trademark registration held by the Washington Redskins as a part of the continued push to get the team to stop using a racial slur as their name.
There are honestly only two sides to the name-change issue: Native Americans and people who need to shut up. The Patent and Trademark Office move is a distraction.
For the office to pull the Redskins’ trademark registration based on being racially disparaging is a move that the team will challenge in court. They will also likely win, based on being able to afford some pretty convincing lawyers. This makes the Patent and Trademark Office’s stunt largely symbolic and mostly an annoyance to the Redskins.
Nobody argues that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is being a complete tool over this whole issue. No matter how many Native Americans ask him to please kindly stop using an offensive slur, Snyder continues to demonstrate the sheer lack of flips he gives about their requests. He has stood firm in his refusal, which is odd because Snyder himself is Jewish and would probably punch every face in the room if the Brooklyn Nets called themselves the “Heebs.”
There’s a list that stretches well past field goal range of really spectacular ideas to get Snyder to change the team name. The Patent and Trademark Office making a move that is largely an annoying stack of paperwork is not one of them.
Many casual observers see this revocation of the trademark as an “ooo, snap” moment in the saga of getting Snyder to not call Native Americans the most offensive thing possible every Sunday. It’s not. It’s a headache for his administrative assistant and a wonderful talking point for every commentator currently enjoying a slow news day.
This is not the killshot we all have been hoping for. Only Roger Goodell has a round in that chamber.