News, Sports

Redskins Trademark Taken Away

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Washington Redskins logo. Image: Wikipedia
Washington Redskins logo. Image: Wikipedia

The trademark for the name “Redskins” used by the Washington Redskins football team, has been cancelled.

The decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office is rare and significant.

A trademark gives someone ownership of, in this case, the team name and logo.

It means that no one else can use that logo or team name without the owner’s permission.

The Trademark Office took away the trademark because it ruled that the name and logo are offensive to First Nations people.

The law firm that handled the case is Drinker Biddle & Reath; they were working on behalf of five First Nations people.

The First Nations people say that the term refers to the colour of a person’s skin and it’s offensive. The team says the term is actually meant as a sign of respect for First nations people and they say there are surveys that show that most First Nations people in the U.S. like the name.

The judges who made the decision said the name is offensive and they pointed out that almost no one uses the term any more to describe First Nations people. They wrote an 81-page decision about it. The decision has taken eight years to get to this stage.

The Redskins won’t have to change the name of their team. However, the decision will hit them where it hurts – in their wallet. That’s because teams make a lot of money selling merchandise like T-shirts and caps with a team’s name on it. Because the team no longer owns the name, if someone else decides to make merchandise that says Redskins, the team will likely not be able to stop them.

The Redskins team may “appeal” the decision, which in this case means asking another court to change the decision. It is something that has happened before with the Redskins case; last time the decision was changed and the team believes that’s what will happen again.

Until a final decision is made, which could take years, the trademark registration remains in effect.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Do you believe the name of the Washington’s football team is offensive? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
In your opinions, what actions should people do if they support or don’t support the franchise?

Primary
Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Junior
Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Intermediate
Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Language Feature: Semi Colon ( ; )
Many new writers use the semi colon like a spice. They add it to their writing here and there, hoping to make it look sophisticated, but often fail. Here’s why, a semi colon, like any punctuation mark, can only be used in certain situations. A semi colon can only be used to join two closely related complete sentences. For example,

The law firm that handled the case is Drinker Biddle & Reath; they were working on behalf of five First Nations people.

Read the examples below and place a check or an x beside the sentences that use semi colons correctly.
Be sure to explain your reasoning?

1. She has a dog; its name is Muffin.
2. Margot hates the cold, dark; and mean people.
3. Mr. Adams told the kids to go; so they went.
4. Brunhilde has three sisters; they are always together.
5. The Alphonso mango is the king of all mangos; it is sweet, colourful, and delicious.