A few fumbled claims about the Redskins' name
By Nancy Madsen
Published on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 at 7:02 p.m.
Our colleagues at PunditFact have exposed a few holes in the defense of the Washington Redskins’ name.
Let’s go to the replay:
*Pete Hegseth, a panelist on the Fox News show Outnumbered, said Redskins historically has been used as "a term of respect." Linguists say the term, at its earliest roots, was a neutral description. But around 1826, they say "red" was used by whites in violent attacks acts against Native Americans and as a derogatory description. Hegseth’s claim was ruled to be Mostly False.
*Rush Limbaugh said there was a conspiracy behind the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s 2-1 decision last month to revoke trademark protection for the Redskins because the name is offensive. The radio host said that President Barack Obama -- not the office -- made the decision.
Although Obama supports a name change for the team, Limbaugh has offered no proof that the president usurped the administrative law judges’ hands in canceling the trademark. Experts note that the court issued the same decision against the Redskins in 1999. This time, the two judges who found the trademarks disparaging were appointed in the Geroge W. Bush years. The judges do not serve at the pleasure of the president and can't be fired without cause. Limbaugh’s claim was rated False.
*Conservative bloggers are claiming Patent and Trademark Office revoked the Redskins trademark even though it received no public complaints about the name.
The Redskins case deals with existing trademark registration, which means that someone had to seek to have the trademark canceled. In this case, five young people with American Indian heritage asked the office to cancel the registration in 2006, based on an argument that the trademark is disparaging. So, in fact, there were five plaintiffs in the case, in essence, complaining about the trademark. The claim was rated False.
PunditFact, "U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received zero complaints about Washington Redskins, bloggers say," July 9, 2014.
PunditFact, "Pundit claims Redskins historically used as ‘term of respect,’" June 4, 2014.
PunditFact, "Rush Limbaugh reaches with claim that Obama canceled Washington Redskins’ name," June 19, 2014.
Researchers: Nancy Madsen
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