January 26, 2022


redskinsHail to the Redskins!
Hail, victory!
Braves on the warpath!
Fight for Old D.C.!

This past week the Trademark and Patent office, cancelled the Washington Redskins football team’s name registration. This much discussed action has many facets. We have to recognize the basic fact that this name and its logo have been used for over seventy years. As a football team it is logical that the owners wanted to use a name that represented a positive image, not a demeaning one. The “Redskins” name was intended to symbolize courage, bravery in battle, and a desire to win. Indeed, the name Redskin dates back to the 17th century and applied to natives inhabiting the northeast of our country, referring not to a skin color, but to paints used by the natives to demonstrate valor in battle. In fact, a positive meaning for the original inhabitants that had that custom. To this day, the majority of Native Americans as well as the rest of us does not feel that Washington’s logo has a demeaning connotation.

The opposition comes from scholarly groups, the press, and the “politically correct” crowd. The second issue to consider is if this decision has any real effect, or even whether it has legal merit, both because of the Trademark Act and/or the First Amendment. The team, even after the ruling, can continue to use and market the name as they now do, and can exert exclusivity for their products. Mr. Snyder, the principal owner, is adamant in his refusal to change the name, and the free market seems to support him as the team’s paraphernalia and attendance has not suffered.

The Columbus Day weekend classic between the Cowboys and Redskins game continues to be a “must watch” for football aficionados. In my opinion the most important aspect of this news is the increasing intervention of the executive branch of our government into our lives, choices, and behavior. If individuals consider any name to be demeaning, vulgar and/or offensive it should behoove them as part of their education, moral and good manners to avoid the term, and can make their displeasure felt by not attending or sponsoring any activity that sponsors or uses the name. The political correct group claims that the use of some words is purposely used by society to marginalize minorities. Their efforts to, as judge and jury, to ban these words and of our government to decide what is appropriate remind us of Orwell’s 1984 classic book. This dangerous trend of eliminating words that make some uncomfortable, has the opposite of the desired effect, as it perpetuates the prejudice and makes the goal of integration more difficult to achieve.  I quote Phillip Atkinson, author of the book Study of our Decline;..is the communal tyranny that erupted in the 1980s. It was a spontaneous declaration that particular ideas, expressions and behavior, which were then legal, should be forbidden by law, and people who transgressed should be punished. It started with a few voices but grew in popularity until it became unwritten and written law within the community. With those who were publicly declared as being not politically correct becoming the object of persecution by the mob, if not prosecution by the state.
Fernando J Milanes MD