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Posted at 11:49 a.m. on June 18, 2014
Two of the Senate’s leading critics of Washington Redskins name and team owner Dan Snyder were quick to take the Senate floor to praise the Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to strip the team of its trademarks.
First came Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a former chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee, who has spearheaded efforts to get the name changed. On the floor, she criticized the Redskins monicker as a slur.
“We’re so excited to know that finally people are recognizing that this issue can no longer be a business case for the NFL to use this patent,” Cantwell said. “They will not be able to forcefully exclude other people from having derivatives of this logo or the name.
“This is not the end of this case, but this is a landmark decision by the Patent Office that says that the NFL team here in Washington, DC, does not have a patentable name, and that this is an offensive term, not patentable by the patent office,” Cantwell continued.
Majority Leader Harry Reid followed not long after, saying, “it’s just a matter of time before [Snyder’s] forced to change the name.”
“There are 27 tribes in the state of Nevada, Native Americans. The issue of the name Redskins is very important to every one of those tribes,” Reid said. “Every time they hear this name is a sad reminder of a long tradition of racism and bigotry.”
Reid said Snyder tried to effectively buy off one of the Nevada tribal groups with a car, an offer that was refused.
“Daniel Snyder says it’s about tradition. I ask, what tradition? The tradition of racism is all that that name leaves in its wake,” said Reid. “The writing is on the wall. It’s on the wall in giant blinking neon lights. The name will change.”
The reaction was not uniform, however. The Redskins name issue showed signs of taking on a partisan split, with Amanda Carpenter, a top aide to Texas Republican Ted Cruz, calling the move by the Patent and Trademark Office “bureaucratic tyranny.”
On Twitter, Carpenter also connected the move to the effort by Senate Democrats to amend the Constitution to remove First Amendment protections for political campaign spending.
Dems pushed to remove Redskins name, pushed to repeal 1st Amendment. Can they be any clearer how anti-free speech they are? #speechpolice
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) June 18, 2014
Fifty senators, but no Republicans, earlier wrote to the NFL asking the league to force a name change.