There are several logos/team names in professional sport that are considered “offensive.” The teams that have garnered the most attention are the Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians and mentioned in this article, arguably the most documented of them all, the Washington Redskins. Logos and team names carry significant meaning and represent a history within the organization; these names have been around for decades and is it really fair to force a name change now? It is difficult to re-establish a fan base after re-branding the product. Fans and followers have spent a lot of money on purchasing the team’s product and through the process of establishing a new name and logo; the organization could suffer from fan backlash and lose support.
There has been an increased movement recently in the legal fight to have the Redskins change their name. Even president Barrack Obama has agreed that no matter how storied their past is as an organization, if the name and logo is offending a large group of people they should definitely change from the title “Redskins.” The Redskins owner states he will never change the name of the organization and insists that the name is not offensive; it instead is a sign of honour of Native Americans and their courageous nature.
It is unclear whether the plaintiffs have substantial evidence to meet the burden requiring the Redskins to change their name. Although this is a process could be lengthy, in the long-run the verdict of this specific case can play a major influence on other sport organizations having to change their name and logo. I can understand both sides of the argument in this prudent situation, the Redskins do not want to abandon their past, while Native Americans should not have to feel offended when watching or reading about professional sport. It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds and if the plaintiffs can meet the two-part test providing enough evidence to force a change; deeming the trademark reproachful. For the time being, the Redskins name and logo is likely to stay, but is there a way for professional sport to potentially influence the rebranding of specific sport properties to make them less offensive to different heritage groups?