The most controversial team in the NFL will be in Indianapolis to play the Colts this year.
In a landmark decision, the US patent office cancelled the Washington Redskins trademark registration saying “they were disparaging to Native Americans at the times they were registered.” Native American groups have been fighting the Redskins name for decades.
When the Colts play the Redskins this fall, the Washington team can still use the Redskins name, but the trademark decisions would make it nearly imposible for team owners to sue those who use the name without permission.
Experts say the team could lose millions of dollars a year in royalties from merchandisers
“It hurts owner, players who in their latest collective bargaining agreement get a percentage of jersey sales and product sales. It hurts a lot of people from an economic standpoint. Most of all it hurts the perception that the league is stubborn,” said sports attorney Domenic Romano.
The ruling against the Redskins could have further implications in the sports world. Teams like the Indianapolis Indians, the Atlanta Braves and NCAA universities that have Native American themed-named could be in the hot seat, next.
The Redskins attorney says he expects the ruling to be overturned on appeal, which is what happened when the team was hit with a similar ruling back in 1999.
The Indianapolis Colts play the Washington Redskins at home on November 30th at 1PM. The game will be broadcast on FOX 59.