AP Photo/Jim Mone
American Indians and their supporters gather outside the Metrodome to protest the Washington Redskins' name, prior to an NFL football game between the team and the Minnesota Vikings, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Redskins Lawyer Claims There Is 'No Momentum' for Name Change


The changing of the racist name of the Washington Redskins football team is looking more and more certain -- to everyone, that is, except the team's own honchos. Owner Dan Snyder stated just over a year ago, "We will never change the name of the team ... It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps." Sportscaster Al Michaels, who has talked with Snyder on the subject, says the owner "basically said [the team would change its name] ‘over my dead body.'"

Yesterday, following the announcement that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was rejecting six of the team's trademarks, the team's lawyer offered a similarly stubborn statement. Unlike some previous feeble attempts from Redskins representatives to assert that the name "honors" American Indians, attorney Bob Raskopf stuck to the legal-ese:

"As the district court’s ruling made clear in 2003, the evidence ‘is insufficient to conclude that during the relevant time periods the trademark at issue disparaged Native Americans...’ The court continued, ‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion. We are confident that when a district court review’s today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion."

So... is the team's name racist? Should it be changed? Those are not questions Raskopf is paid to address, nor are they questions Snyder and his surrogates ever really address. It's all about what they can get away with, legally, not what is right or wrong.

It's not about reviewing the facts -- it's about selling their version of the facts, a tactic demonstrated in a comment of Raskopf's that surfaced in an AP story titled "Ruling adds momentum for Redskins name change":

"There's no momentum in the place that momentum matters," Raskopf said. "And that's in Native America."

No momentum?

This is an attempt to sell two false narratives. One is that American Indians don't care about the issue. And the other, implied, false narrative is that the opinions of American Indians matter, at all, to the Redskins organization. ("We would change something, but we've looked around and nobody seems to be upset. Just kidding, we didn't really look. And also just kidding, we wouldn't change anything anyway.")

Really... no momentum?

Evidently he's not getting his news from this website, where we've reported that "67 Percent of Native Americans Say Redskins Is Offensive". Raskopf may also have missed the story about the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation buying a TV ad during the NBA Finals. He may have missed the National Congress of the American Indians' statements (there have been a few) condemning the name, as well as the activism of Native American Olympian Billy Mills (both Mills and NCAI Chairman Brian Cladoosby praised yesterday's ruling.) He may have missed ICTMN columnist Gyasi Ross -- who not long ago professed not to care about the issue -- joining Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter on ESPN's Outside the Lines

Ross appeared on MSNBC and HuffPo Live in the wake of yesterday's news -- Raskopf might have missed those clips as well.

He may even have missed the uproar over the Navajo golf tournament the Redskins sponsored -- a sneaky move that caused the Notah Begay III Foundation and the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) to sever ties with the event. The debacle happened to be preceded by a condemnation of the name by the Navajo Nation Council

No momentum in Native America? Here's a tip for Raskopf, Snyder, and the Redskins organization: If you don't see "momentum" against your team's offensive name in "Native America," it's because you're not looking. Try looking in Indian country. That's what it's called. Learn to call it by its name and you might start learning a whole bunch of other things.

(Yes, it's called Indian country. You weren't thinking Redskinland, were you?)

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Catfish101's picture
Submitted by Catfish101 on
Even right here in Oklahoma, Union high school has decided to keep their name. Redskins. I know 67% of you will never give up, and I admire that. But you guys are beating a dead horse here. Type in News on 6, and read the comments from every day people. Most are proud of the name and do not take it as a form of disrespect. How many indians are full blood these days? We all have issues that we may be offended by. But censoring all of it is not logical and would be very boring. Im going to go hunt me some arrowheads and make them mine forever! Good day.

scd's picture
Submitted by scd on
OK, Catfish101, you seem to be following this closely and are here just to criticize, antagonize, irritate, annoy and joke about an issue that you know absolutely nothing about. I know you will not go away because there are millions of others just like you. First, this is non of your business, especially if you are white! Second, 67%? Oh, I am sure there are more! But, that does not even matter. You say…“ Type in News on 6, and read the comments from every day people.?” “Every day people?” You mean the raciest, bigots that think no one else matters but them? You say…“ Most are proud of the name and do not take it as a form of disrespect.” That is because they are ignorant! You say…“How many indians are full blood these days?” Again, THAT is none of your business! My grandmother was Cherokee, I am a mixed blood Cherokee and am damn proud of that fact! If I could have chosen my birth, I would have chosen to be Full Blood Lakota! But, I am what I am and again, damn proud of it! You say…” We all have issues that we may be offended by.” Bullsh*t!! The white mans issues were brought on themselves! You know nothing of issues! ___________ 1. Sand Creek Massacre…THAT’S an issue! 2. Trail of Tears…THAT’S an issue! 3. Wounded Knee Massacre…THAT’S an issue! 4. Broke Treaties, Treaties that are still legally on the books in washington d. c…THAT’S an issue! 4. For years children stolen from their families to be brainwashed to become white…THAT’S an issue! 5. Children Tribal (Indian FULL BLOOD) taken and sexually abused, raped, beaten, starved and KILLED! THAT’S AN ISSUE! 6. Tribal children TODAY that are being stolen by the corrupt court systems and put in white homes so the whites can cash $ in…THAT’S an issue! 7. The Lakotas who are STILL being punished by the u.s. government for their resistance in their defense of their land and the defeat of the u.s. “elite" 7th calvar and custers stupid ass…STILL to this DAY!…THAT’S an issue. 8. A people who are disrespected, laughed at, teased, beat and still being murdered in this country as the white ass government turns their head and sends a token (obama) to put a band-aid on a cancer just because they are Tribal people…THAT’S an issue! OH, there is more, but I am sure by now you are already bored because you do not care…NOW, THAT’S THE ISSUE! Steve Fire Heart

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I'm positive that Snyder & Co. must all be Repuglicans. Why? Because they live in their own world unfettered by facts. I protest the name of Snyder's team on the walls at the high school where I work, on billboards at the university I live near, in political forums and on YouTube where I usually suffer the usual slurs and racist remarks from the idiot fans who insist they're honoring us. ____________________________________________________________ I heartily anticipate the day when Snyder & Co. succumb to the "Romney-Revelation" that they ARE NOT in the majority and they are NOT going to win this argument. Snyder is an asshole and a racist - and you can put THAT in all caps!

stanleyheller's picture
Submitted by stanleyheller on
Good piece yesterday in the New York Times about the offensive name. Learned that the players union had criticized the name. Think you can still add to the comments about the article. I did. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/sports/football/roger-goodells-chance-in-the-redskins-name-debate.html?hp&_r=0

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Thanks for that link, Mr. Heller. That was a well written article and I posted a link to it in my YouTube debate against the team name. I wish I could say I read something new in the comments on the Post website, but they're pretty much the same one you hear ad naseum.