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Washington Redskins Trademark Challenged

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A group of Native Americans are arguing against the name and want the team to lose trademark protection, which doesn't cover disparaging names. Chad Corntassel Smith, the former principal chief of the Cherokee nation, says he find the name offensive. (Published Thursday, Mar 7, 2013)

    A group of Native Americans offended by the Washington Redskins' name is taking aim at the team's trademark.

    Losing exclusive rights to the name "Redskins" would cost the team huge money and result in a new team name.

    Amanda Blackhorse, who is challenging the trademark, says it is a racial slur.

    “It attempts to identify a group of ethnic people based off of skin color,” she said.

    Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen said the name has always been a source of respect, not derision.

    “We’re proud of our history and we’re proud of where we’re taking the franchise and we want to protect the game of football and this franchise for the fans and the players and the coaches for decades from now,” he said.

    Years ago, another group of Native Americans challenged the Washington Redskins trademark and won, but that decision was overturned on a technicality. The leader of that battle is watching this one.

    “Whether the federal government should subsidize with the exclusive right of making money that racism, and we think not,” Suzan Shownharjo said

    “Why do we even have to explain a word is offensive to us,” said Chad "Corntassel" Smith, chief of Cherokee nation. “No other race or religion or group has to.”

    “I know our fans are proud of us,” Allen said. “I know that there are Native Americans that are very proud of us and who are fans of our football team.”

    A decision on the trademark challenge is expected to take between three months and a year.