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The decades-long legal battle to force the Washington Redskins football team to change its name goes before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board this week. A group of Native American plaintiffs will argue that the NFL franchise should lose its federal trademark protection for the name “Redskins”, based on a law that prohibits registered names that disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said last month that it is “ludicrous” to think that the team is “trying to upset anybody” with its nickname.
Plaintiff Suzan Shown Harjo views the matter differently:
“It’s just like a drive-by shooting,” Harjo said, “They’re trying to make money, and not caring who is injured in the process — or if anyone is injured in the process. I don’t think they wake up or go to sleep dreaming of ways to hurt Native people. I think they wake up and go to sleep thinking of ways to make money — off hurting Native people.”