Oct 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Kansas City Chiefs helmet on the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 24-7. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Is The Kansas City Chiefs Name Next In Line For Trademark Office?

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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.

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  • jimfetterolf

    Best might be to work a deal with a local nation, perhaps the Kansa or Wyandotte, pay royalties, and be the Kansa Chiefs. Really, neither “Chief” nor the arrowhead are specifically Original America, but a little money works wonders for sensitivity.

    • mnelson52

      And pay everyone on the rodeo circuit for the cowboys name. To pay them would be stupid. There would be no end to it. I think they should actually be proud they chose these names to do battle.

      • jimfetterolf

        People in rodeos are cowboys. In the case of the KC Cheese, they do have the name “Kansa” in their name. That’s a local nation that Kansas Town was named for.

        • mnelson52

          That is my point. They are cowboys. They have just as much right to be offended by Dallas using their name and heritage. This is all just stupid to me, and I’m part Indian, and my grandmother full blooded which thinks it’s all stupid. I think if you own a business or team, you should be able to name them what you want. You could by their product or not, it’s totally up to you.

          • jimfetterolf

            I’m part Santee and Iowa, have no ancestors from India, and consider the names and likenesses of the bands to be intellectual property and worthy of copyright protection and royalties.

            As for team ownership, pro-sports is heavily subsidized by governments so put themselves in a different position than a guy who does house painting or home remodeling. It is not totally up to me to pay for the venue they generate their income from. Or their antitrust exemptions.

  • unclejesse40

    I would hate to see this but the easiest solution to this problem for the Chiefs would be to redue the arrowhead mascot and try to say that it is not an association with Native American Chiefs. The name Braves goes the same way, Atlanta if they were pressed could simply change to an American Army Brave and keep their name and possibly become the Patriotic team that everyone wants to support. Now the cleveland indians have a much harder sell with their name as its pretty darn specific to a people group.

    What I am about to say next I say hoping not to be taken the wrong way and it is merely a question. If every mascot in the United States that references an Indian mascot is required to change, over time does the history/culture of the Native American just turn into something that no one knows anything about. Not that mascots do a great job of this but high school history classes don’t talk about native americans much anymore and I wonder if people will think much about them if their team is not associated with them. Lets be honest the average american would have little reason to know of the Seminoles had it not been for Florida State University. But I also believe that this issue should be left up to Native Americans to decide, not a bunch of white sports fans.

  • Jordan

    I believe the team name was actually chosen because of the mayor at the time of the move to Kansas City was refered to as “Chief” so in honor of him we became the Chiefs. We have an arrowhead as a logo which in no way discriminates. This shouldn’t be an issue

    • http://fansided.com Zach

      “Hunt and head coach Hank Stram initially planned on retaining the Texans name, but a fan contest determined the new “Chiefs” name in honor of Mayor Bartle’s nickname that he acquired in his professional role as Scout Executive of the St. Joseph and Kansas City Boy Scout Councils and founder of the Scouting Society”

  • KCinTX

    Chief is not indicative to the American Native. Long before Columbus arrived in America the word was used on almost every ship to rank the officers. Master Chief, Chief Mate etc.. As for the arrow head these can be found on every continent. If you hear the word Chief and you only think of the American natives you are ignorant enough to be raciest. The term “Redskin” is a totally different situation.

    • jayhwk01

      I am not a Chiefs fan but I don’t want to see them, the Braves, Indians, or even the Redskins change their name for a lot of reasons. However, your argument is pretty weak. While “Chief” may not be indicative to those native, the “arrowhead”, fans in headdress, and mascot “warpaint” clearly are pointing to this lands native people. There is no way any reasonable person could spin Chiefs the team to mean anything nautical or anything other than Indians of the native variety. There are many valid reasons these teams should not bow to the PC police but this argument is not one of them.

      • KCinTX

        Thank you for your response.

        Why would the way the fans act have anything to do with the Name of a team. Elvis is always at arrowhead. Should rock stars now be offended by the name Chiefs? The argument the PC police are making is against the name and mascot the team picked not the actions of the fans following the team. The above article is asking if the Chiefs could be next. I say no and stated why I think that way.

        I find it humorous that the PC police always defend something they perceive as offensive. Affectively hearing a word and instantly picture something offensive, then having the nerve to assume everyone else is thinking the same offensive thought. If I think something racist when you say something vague. Wouldn’t that make me the racist? Just asking because this doesn’t seem to apply to the PC police.

  • mnelson52

    I guess the next thing will be the guys on the rodeo circuit trying to get the Cowboys to change their offensive name. Since we are talking about American football teams, maybe we should change the high school and college teams with the name Loboes, to Wolves because Americans could be offended by using a Hispanic name. Is this any different?

    • Stan Colbert

      Cowboys was originally given name of “gangs” of toughs roaming the Southwest looking for trouble. Ironically, they could be recognized by their bright red bandanas. I guess some traditions die hard?

  • mnelson52

    Would they still be offended if we changed the arrowhead to a rifle? It would then not represent a fierce warrior.

    • Doc

      Changing the arrowhead to a rifle would offend liberals.

      • jayhwk01

        Could not agree more. We have become a people in constant need of a cause, a reason to self inflict guilt and, continually thin skinned. It is just getting ridiculous.

    • Stan Colbert

      I doubt they settle for anything less than the KC Climate Change

  • Doc

    Change their name to the old Snickers commercial – ‘Chefs’ (great googly-moogly). Oh wait….then Mars will get their panties in a bunch over using their candy name. Might be why that snickers commercial disappeared as quickly as it did.

  • Stan Colbert

    I am a simple man who believes most in treating people right. I don’t know many indians, however the ones I know don’t like the name redskin. That said I have heard their really is a small minority of people who are offended. I have not seen any polling g data on this which I find strange because that would seem to be the place to start.
    One thing I know is about the only time I think about those people is when one of these teams play or I read where some group of nitwits are real upset! These are usually connected to a non-prophet org. accepting money from people to raise the devil about some issue they no nothing about and have no apparent concern for the people themselves!
    The Indians do have problems as a people and could use money, jobs, training, a number of things the NFL provides for other groups of people already. It would seem to me wise to quit giving money to these non-profits, set up programs to help the people, develop friendships with the NFL and be thankful that at least for some time of every year people think about the best part of their heritage!

  • the_voice

    Some folks are perpetually offended by something. Will the Commander-in-Chief have to change his title, too? This would be humorous if it weren’t so sad.

    From Wikipedia:

    Chief may refer to:

    Title or rank
    Chief of the Name, head of a family or clan
    Chief executive officer, the highest-ranking corporate officer of an organization
    Chief Master Sergeant, in the United States Air Force
    Chief of police, the head of a police department
    Chief petty officer, a non-commissioned officer or equivalent in many navies
    Chief of the Boat, the senior enlisted sailor on an U.S. Navy submarine
    Chief engineer, the highest senior officer in the engine department on a merchant vessel
    Chief officer, the highest senior officer in the deck department on a merchant vessel
    Commander-in-chief, the commander of a nation’s military forces or significant element of those forces
    Editor-in-chief, the highest-ranking editor of a publication
    Fire chief, top rank in a fire department
    Paramount chief, the highest-level traditional chief or political leader in a polity
    Scottish clan chief, the head of a Scottish clan
    Tribal chief, the head of a tribal form of self-government
    Warrant officer, in the United States Army

    Aircraft
    Aeronca 50 Chief, an American light plane of the late 1930s
    Aeronca 11 Chief, a two-seat airplane entering production in 1945

    Media

    Literature
    Chiefs (novel), a 1981 novel by Stuart Woods
    The Chief (play), a 2003 one-man play about Art Rooney
    The Chief (newspaper) (briefly The Chief-Leader), a newspaper aimed at civil service workers in New York City

    Music
    Chief Records, an independent record label 1957-1964
    Chief (band), a band signed to Domino Records
    Chief (album), a 2011 album by Eric Church
    Chief (artist), a musician signed to Stork Distribution

    Television
    The Chief (TV series), a series on CablePulse 24 in Toronto, Ontario
    The Chief (UK television series), a 1990s crime drama
    Chiefs (TV miniseries), a 1983 miniseries starring Charlton Heston and Keith Carradine
    Fictional characters[edit]
    Chief (comics), the leader of the Doom Patrol
    The Chief (Carmen Sandiego), in the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? franchise
    Galen Tyrol or “The Chief”, in the 2004 TV series Battlestar Galactica
    Master Chief (Halo) or just “Chief”, in the gaming franchise Halo
    Chief, in the film The Fox and the Hound and in the novel on which it is based
    The Chief, in the TV situation comedy Get Smart
    The Chief, in the animated TV series The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show
    The Chief, in the animated TV series T.U.F.F. Puppy
    Chief Bromden, in the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and in the film adaptation
    Charlestown Chiefs, a fictional ice hockey team in the film Slap Shot

    Sports
    Chiefs (rugby union), a Rugby Union team in New Zealand
    Exeter Chiefs, a Rugby Union team in England
    Johnstown Chiefs, an ice hockey team in Pennsylvania that took its name from the fictional Charlestown Chiefs (see above)
    Laval Chiefs, an ice hockey team in Quebec
    Kaizer Chiefs F.C., a football club in South Africa
    Kansas City Chiefs, an American football team in Missouri
    Peoria Chiefs, a minor league baseball affiliate in Peoria, Illinois of the Chicago Cubs
    Syracuse Chiefs, a AAA minor league baseball team in upstate New York

    People nicknamed Chief or The Chief
    Wayne Allison (born 1968), football player
    Craig Berube (born 1965), Head Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers
    George Armstrong (ice hockey), retired Hall of Fame NHL player
    Harold Roe Bartle (1901–1974), former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri and founder of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say
    Johnny Bucyk (born 1935), retired Hall of Fame NHL player with the Boston Bruins
    Chad Cordero (born 1982), professional baseball player in the MLB
    John Diefenbaker (1895–1979), former Prime Minister of Canada
    Jason Dunstall (born 1964), former AFL Footballer with Hawthorn
    Noel Gallagher (born 1967), English musician in the band Oasis
    Paul Harragon (born 1968), Australia Rugby League former player and commentator
    Robert Parish (born 1953), professional basketball player in the NBA
    Charles Stewart Parnell (1846–1891), Irish nationalist political leader
    Art Rooney (1901–1988), founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers
    Felipe Rose (born 1954), “Indian Chief” in the Village People
    Jamie Thomas (born 1974), Pro skateboarder and owner of Black Box Distribution
    Simon Wiggins (born 1982), former AFL Footballer with Carlton

    Other uses
    Chief (heraldry), a horizontal band on a coat of arms
    Chief (train), a named passenger train of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
    Customs Handling of Import & Export Freight (CHIEF), a UK customs computer system
    Stawamus Chief aka “The Chief” is a granite dome located adjacent to the town of Squamish, British Columbia.

    See also
    Chief of staff
    Chieftain (disambiguation)
    Super Chief (disambiguation)

    Title or rank
    Chief of the Name, head of a family or clan
    Chief executive officer, the highest-ranking corporate officer of an organization
    Chief Master Sergeant, in the United States Air Force
    Chief of police, the head of a police department
    Chief petty officer, a non-commissioned officer or equivalent in many navies
    Chief of the Boat, the senior enlisted sailor on an U.S. Navy submarine
    Chief engineer, the highest senior officer in the engine department on a merchant vessel
    Chief officer, the highest senior officer in the deck department on a merchant vessel
    Commander-in-chief, the commander of a nation’s military forces or significant element of those forces
    Editor-in-chief, the highest-ranking editor of a publication
    Fire chief, top rank in a fire department
    Paramount chief, the highest-level traditional chief or political leader in a polity
    Scottish clan chief, the head of a Scottish clan
    Tribal chief, the head of a tribal form of self-government
    Warrant officer, in the United States Army

    • jayhwk01

      I agree with you 100%….and it matters not. This change is coming for KC and a lot of other cities. Pandora’s box of political correctness and a culture that lives to be offended by anything will get many things before enough people say enough. Idiots like Bob Fescoe, and others, that beat the drum screaming from the radio waves about the Redskins just could not see how that only leads the way to KC and other teams. Funny how when it’s “your team” you can’t see what is coming. All it takes is one person to log the complaint. As of today the same woman going after the Redskins has KC in her sights. I hate to say it but I told you so Chiefs fans….it was inevitable. It is wrong, wrong headed, and a cause just to have a cause. Does not matter…this is who we have become.