Redskins Trademark Safe for Now

Last Friday, a three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals in Washington upheld the D. C. Circuit Court’s decision that the plaintiffs had waited too long in filing a suit against the Redskins’ trademark which was originally registered in 1967. This time around (law suits were first filed against the Redskins in 1992), based on the much shorter delay (seven years and nine months) since Mateo Romero’s 18th birthday. Apparently minors are not allowed to file such suits. The other six plaintiffs are much older and waited far longer to file. The judge also ruled that the attack on the team’s cheerleaders, the Redskinettes, was also filed too late. However, these lawsuits are far from over. Suzan Shown Harjo, President of the Morning Star Institute and one of the plaintiffs, told reporters that a group of younger plaintiffs are ready to challenge the trademarks. Don’t expect this fight to end anytime soon. A franchise that isn’t so successful would probably relocate to greener pastures long before this thing is resolved.

I follow this issue because owner George Preston Marshall named the Redskins in honor of Lone Star Dietz, his new head coach in 1933. Dietz has been at the epicenter of this controversy for years. Dietz’s heritage has been an issue since his draft evasion trial in 1919. *** Begin unabashed plug *** My 2006 book, Keep A-goin’: the life of Lone Star Dietz discusses the issue of his birth at great length. *** End unabashed plug ***

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