Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Criticized Team Names Get a Legal Lift, but the Price Could Be High; New York Times, June 19, 2017

Ken Belson, New York Times; Criticized Team Names Get a Legal Lift, but the Price Could Be High

"After years of mounting disapproval involving one of the N.F.L.’s most established and lucrative brands, the Redskins cheered the ruling, which the team most likely will use to seek the restoration of trademark protections the government took away in 2014 on the grounds the nickname was offensive.

“I am THRILLED!” the team’s owner, Dan Snyder, said in a statement. “Hail to the Redskins.”...

Still, while those who have resisted name changes might see a symbolic lift from the court, they will have to weigh whether keeping their names hurts their image or even their bottom line.

“What the Supreme Court has said is you don’t have to change your name if you don’t want to, because you can protect it with a federally protected trademark,” said Josh Schiller, a lawyer at Boies Schiller Flexner in New York who specializes in sports and media law. “But culturally, it is important to consider whether the name still offends people, and whether it will build good will around the mark.”"

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