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Redskins Trademark Ruling Could Have Impact in Tewksbury, Throughout Massachusetts

While the NFL team says the ruling will have no impact on its organization, some believe the ruling could reach as far as Massachusetts high school sports.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
On the surface, it doesn't appear that the Washington Redskins have much in common with Tewksbury Memorial High School sports teams.

But according to one report, a recent decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office could have ramifications in Tewksbury and at other Massachusetts high schools.

According to CNN and other media reports, on Wednesday the Patent and Trademark Office canceled six trademarks that belong to the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. The decision is a part of ongoing controversy over whether the name Redskins is considered offensive to Native Americans.

The Redskins can continue to to use the Redskins name and brand, but CNN reported that if the decision is upheld, it will be difficult to stop others from making unlicensed merchandise.

CBS Sports reported that Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen said the organization was not concerned about the decision, saying "We'll be fine."

So what do the Washington Redskins have to do with Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association teams?

The Boston Herald reported that more than 40 high schools around Massachusetts use Native American mascot names or images, and those could be in jeopardy as a result of the Redskins decision.

New England Anti-Mascot Coalition organizer Pete Sanfacon told the Boston Herald that he believes there will "some movement" over the next few years to remove names that could be considered offensive, and added there has been discussion over recent months about what has been happening with the Redskins situation.

In the same Boston Herald article, Tewksbury Athletics Directer Brian Hickey said his school's Redmen name is not intended to offend, but instead honor.

Superintendent of Schools John O'Connor declined comment when contacted by Patch, saying he did not have enough information yet on the trademark decision to comment.

"I think we go out of our way to honor the people who were here first in this country," said Hickey, according to the Boston Herald. "I think most of the people in Tewksbury feel that way. Most people understand that it’s a point of honor for us and our town, and we try to do honor to them."

What is your take on the Washington Redskins trademark decision? Do you believe Massachusetts schools with Native American mascots and logos should be forced to change them? Let us know in the comments section below.
Deva June 20, 2014 at 09:22 PM
Funny how for 30 plus years no one, including Native Americans, had a problem with the name. Then we elect an Islamist to the White House and the PC yenta Nazi's are in full swing. How pathetic the number of cowards that define this once great nation now.
Joe Bill June 20, 2014 at 11:45 PM
Amen deva
Nick Low June 21, 2014 at 11:15 AM
If you think no one ever had a problem with the name you're full of it. (Of course I know you, Deva, are just a racist troll). But yeah, it's not as bad as the n-word but probably about the equivalent of the word "coon" for an African-American. And let's not forget that the Redskins belong to an association that can probably make them do just about anything, as in the Donald Sterling case. Oh and anyone making Aaron Hernanadez jokes should probably just kill themselves.
brigara June 21, 2014 at 02:05 PM
The name is racist and just wrong to use. I understand the history and tradition associated with a name and an organization but changing a name is about more than being PC. The National Congress of American Indians have made many statements of disapproval of the name. It is ok to reevaluate and recognize if something is in bad taste and in some cases to some it is a blatant slur. SD your comment, "Native Americans who lived on reservations wrote in to say they were NOT offended!" sounds like here say to me... I personally choose to listen to the words expressed by the collective governing boards over a few third hand opinions you might "know". I want to teach my children to respect other people and if a name for a team is disparaging or racist to a population then I want to listen to these people and respect that. I am sure we could all come up with a name that our students are worthy to wear on their shirts. This same organization has rallied to push for the change of these team names. Why do we not listen to them?? We should want our town and our children represented in the best way. I don't think with the team name we have now it represents us well at all. It actually seems quite ignorant to me to continue on with the name. http://www.changethemascot.org/ http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/redskins/2013/10/11/national-congress-american-indians-report-redskins-name/2965075/
Lawrence Lavargna June 24, 2014 at 11:30 PM
If i lived in DC I'd register both the name and logo, which is now available, open up a bar & grill called Washington Redskins. The specialties would include Red skinned potato salad, Red skinned french fries etc. The potential to make a bundle is there. I'd have a clothing line with the emblem on the front and menu on the back of every shirt. To hell with the NFL and all the moonbats. I'd love them to protest...free publicity...look at Chick fillet.

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