This particular battle might lose the NFL franchise the war in keeping their brand. Last week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled six federal trademark registrations of the franchise. The Patent and Trademark Office says any branding that uses a derogatory term or slur for a people group constitutes sufficient grounds for rejecting a trademark registration. The claim is that the this term was disparaging at the time of their registration. What does this mean? According to ESPN reporter Darren Rovell, it does not mean anyone can sell their own merchandise. He writes, “a lack of a federal registration in place does not equate to anarchy where any individual can create merchandise bearing “Redskins” marks and sell same in commerce”.
For now the financial threat to the Redskins franchise is still very small. However, It does not appear this debate will end anytime soon unless there is at least a name change. It appears the main dispute is not over the logo that shows a profile of a Native American. The term “Redskin” is seen as a racial slur by some Native Americans. This would explain why our own Kansas City Chiefs have been able to avoid most of the controversy.