Meet the Politicians Who Are Trying to Save the Redskins Name

A group of Virginia lawmakers is taking up the cause for Washington’s NFL team.

Customers win a signed football during a raffle during the Xbox One Gaming Tournament at the Microsoft store at Tyson's Corner on November 23, 2013 in Tysons Corner, Virginia.
National Journal
Marina Koren
June 24, 2014, 4:59 a.m.

Re­mem­ber #Red­skin­sPride? That Twit­ter cam­paign the team to star­ted after 50 Demo­crat­ic sen­at­ors cri­ti­cized its name? The one that com­pletely back­fired?

Well, a trio of Vir­gin­ia law­makers don’t seem to mind the in­tense back­lash the hasht­ag re­ceived, and are us­ing it to la­bel their sup­port for the team, Wash­ing­to­ni­an magazine re­ports. State Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fair­fax City and Dels. Jack­son Miller, R-Man­as­sas, and Dav­id Ra­madan, R-Loudoun, an­nounced on Monday the cre­ation of the Red­skins Pride Caucus.

Ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease, the bi­par­tis­an group wants to provide “a voice for Red­skins fans,” sup­port a “busi­ness that gen­er­ates hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in tax­able rev­en­ue,” and fight back against “the in­ap­pro­pri­ate in­volve­ment of the United States Con­gress.” The team’s headquar­ters are loc­ated in Vir­gin­ia.

The cre­ation of the caucus comes after last week’s de­cision by the U.S. Pat­ent and Trade­mark Of­fice to can­cel fed­er­al trade­mark re­gis­tra­tions for the team’s name, call­ing it “dis­par­aging to Nat­ive Amer­ic­ans.” The team said that it is “con­fid­ent we will pre­vail once again,” re­fer­ring to a sim­il­ar ban in the 1990s that was ap­pealed by the team and even­tu­ally over­turned by a fed­er­al court in 2003. And the Red­skins Pride Caucus will be there to de­fend the name.

In a post on his blog on Thursday, Petersen likened the de­cision by the trade­mark of­fice to something out of George Or­well’s 1984. He wrote:

All that mat­ters is achiev­ing the res­ult which val­id­ates the griev­ance. Is someone of­fen­ded by your brand name or logo? Then change it. (Braves and In­di­ans, you’re com­ing next). Did you spend eighty years build­ing that brand in­to one of the most re­cog­nized in the world? Tough luck. Some dweeb at the PTO can re­voke it at will.

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, Petersen says, is wad­ing too far in­to the de­bate:

As in all cases in­volving polit­ic­al cor­rect­ness, those of us on the “wrong side” of the War Against the Red­skins (“the WAR”) are con­stantly told our de­feat is in­ev­it­able. We are now fa­cing the right­eous might of the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, as well as every reput­able journ­al­ist and me­dia source in Amer­ica, which has at­tached it­self to the cause du jour.

The small group of state law­makers are not in an easy spot. They may have Wash­ing­ton’s team on their side, but they’re up against the U.S. Sen­ate ma­jor­ity lead­er, half of his col­leaguesgrow­ing pro­test­ers, Nat­ive Amer­ic­an groups, and a whole lot of people on Twit­ter.

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