The US Patent Office recently released the piddling evidence of public disgruntlement over the “offensive” nature of the Washington football team’s preferred label—Redskins.
And when I say piddling, what I really mean is non-existent. In fact, before the US Patent Office stripped the Washington Redskins of its trademarks, no one had written to them about the Redskins. At all. Which means that the US Patent Office determined that the name was offensive without any record that the name had ever offended anyone:
A Freedom of Information Act request from The Washington Times asking for any communications from Congress or the public produced just 13 pages of records.
Six of those pages were a handwritten, meandering letter from a man in Lubbock, Texas, whose position on the team name controversy isn’t clear. Another writer congratulated the appeals board after its decision but questioned whether the judges would “go after” the United Negro College Fund. Both letters were sent after the ruling.
In addition, there were a few pages of email correspondence between staffers for the USPTO and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s nonvoting member of Congress. Ms. Norton has been a vocal critic of the team name, but her staffers were mostly seeking background information on the case.
That’s puzzling, for sure. But it’s par for the course with the civil government. The controversy here is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The civil government has now made it an issue. Now, people will come crawling out of the woodwork applauding the civil government’s circumspection or condemning the civil government’s political correctness. News outlets like this one will comment on the situation, because it’s news now. It really shouldn’t be news, though.
Want one clear indication that Redskins is not offensive? Commentators and politicians will say the name baldly and frequently, without a hush to their voices. Can you imagine these same people saying the dreaded n-word with such cavalier nonchalance? Hardly.
I hear the Washington Redskins are appealing this stupid decision. And I hope they win… so we can stop talking about it.