The Kansas City Chiefs have had their name up in the air lately, due to the recent news of the Washington Redskins.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office canceled all of the Washington Redskins trademark registrations, saying they use an offensive, derogatory slang term.
The Wall Street Journal explains what exactly this means for Snyder and his team,
The decision means that the team can continue to use the Redskins name, but it would lose a significant portion of its ability to protect its financial interests. If others printed the name on sweatshirts, apparel, or other team material, it becomes more difficult to go after people who use it without permission.
The NFL splits revenue from team merchandise sales and licensing 31 ways (the Cowboys have their own deal). In the end, if the Redskins lose money from losing their trademarks, the entire league will lose money — and then it no longer just is about the Redskins and their name, but it’s about all of the other teams in the NFL (except the Cowboys) losing money. That issue could bring a lot more pressure on Snyder about the name of the team.
So what does this mean for the Chiefs moving forward?
Well, there appears to be two different reports. James Dornbrook of the Kansas City Business Journal believes this is only the beginning for not only the Chiefs, but all teams that are using names or logos that stereo type Native Americans.
While the Kansas City Chiefs have a name and logo that could hardly be considered a racial slur, it is a sensitivity issue and the movement against the use of Native American mascots and team names could appear on their doorstep next. The Kansas City Chiefs have already been named in a report by the National Congress of American Indians on team name and logos they described as profiting from harmful stereotypes.
Very, VERY interesting and it does make you wonder, since the Chiefs have already had their name dropped in a report, are they next on the list? Certainly the Cleveland Indians is far more offensive than the Chiefs right?
Well, here is the other side of it. Eric Matuszewski and Susan Decker of BusinessWeek.com believe there shouldn’t be much worry for the Chiefs, Braves, or Indians.
Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves probably shouldn’t be concerned about their teams’ nicknames.
Those franchises probably wouldn’t lose their trademark protection as the Washington Redskins did because “Chiefs,” “Indians” and “Braves” are probably seen as more generic than offensive, said Jim Rosini, a trademark lawyer with Kenyon & Kenyon in Washington who helped Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays change their nickname from the Devil Rays.
See, In my mind, I agree and maybe I am partial because I do not want to see the Chiefs have to change their name and, “Chiefs” isn’t anywhere near the offensive level of “Redskins”. But if you noticed, there is that big fat, “Probably” right before shouldn’t.
Which brings us back to Dornbrook’s article. That “Probably” is placed there because this could become a sensitivity issue. The Chiefs, Indians, and Braves could all be forced to change their names in the near future only because they fell victim to the situation.
Dan Snyder still has a chance to win an appeal on this matter, but with the way it’s gone so far, that isn’t likely to happen.
This is a situation that the Chiefs are surely keeping a close eye on and I’ll be doing the same.