Rep. Mike Honda’s bill hopes to stare down the
NFL franchise into changing its name.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | On the gridiron, the Washington Redskins’ defense was porous last season. South Bay Rep. Mike Honda is hoping to exploit the NFL team’s weaknesses with legislation introduced Tuesday aimed at canceling the trademark protection of its name.
“The Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act” will prohibit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from issuing new trademarks that use the term “redskins,” in addition, to retroactively canceling existing uses, said Honda’s office.
“It is unbelievable to me that, in the 21st century, a prominent NFL franchise is calling itself by a racial slur,” said Honda. “Team names should not be offensive to anyone. Allowing trademark protection of this word is akin to the government approving its use. Removing that trademark will send a clear message that this name is not acceptable.”
Team ownership has longed resisted changing the club’s name which has been used since the 1930s. The NFL league office has also taken a hands-off approach to the controversy.
Honda’s bill legally declares the word “redskins” is a disparaging term when used in reference to Native Americans, Therefore, the use of the name, Honda asserts, would disqualify it from being trademarked under the Lanham Act,
During Honda’s re-election campaign last year, he also criticized the team and the NFL for the use of the team’s moniker. He was also one of 10 members of Congress who wrote a letter in 2013 calling for the team to change its name.