The Washington football team's name is a dictionary-defined slur—and now the federal Patent and Trademark Office has been ordered to cancel its trademark registration.
Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, in strikingly definitive terms, affirmed a previous ruling and ordered the federal Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the team’s trademark registration. Judge Lee wrote in his 70-page decision that the name meets the “legal standard” for defamation in that it “may disparage” a substantial part of the Native American community. In proving that the name met this standard, Judge Lee did not reference academic texts or polls or the decades of activism by Native Americans to get the name changed. Instead he referenced a radical text otherwise known as “a dictionary.” Sincerely. Judge Lee ruled that since the name is a dictionary-defined slur, arguing that it is not a slur, as team owner Dan Snyder continues to do, is absurd.
Suzan Shown Harjo, a writer and activist of Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee heritage, brought the first trademark suit against the team 25 years ago.