And I ask, “Are you kidding?”
The NFL is certainly the only major US business still successfully using a racist epithet in its marketing. For some reason people give a pass to the name of its Washington franchise usually on the grounds that it’s been is use for so long. (Only in America do we think several decades is a significant amount of history.) That argument is too specious to be believed so let us look for an explanation that at least makes sense.
- There are very few descendents of the original people who lived here. Those who remain are mostly living in ghettos – sorry, I mean shtetls. No? How about barrios? OK how about nearly restricted to areas with no intrinsic economic potential. They are out of sight and mind for the most part unless you gamble or watch old action movies.
- Their dehumanization predates even that of people imported to the nation from Africa or the Far East.
- The team’s owner and fan base are located in and around the nation’s capital giving the team unequalled access to our political leaders where they actually live most of the time.
- The team has made a lot of money with this brand and doesn’t want to endanger that.
While none of these would seem to me the basis for a legal defense, I doubt for whatever reason the court will find the team name defames. Defamation in law means communicating a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image. The team boasts and boosts its name. Using an offensive name as a brand may be an insult to the group being named but it doesn’t seem to me (with my 0 years of legal education) to hit the defamation mark. Unfortunately.
Congrats to the NFL for coming down hard on dog fighting but not on insulting a group of humans. Any chance the ruling will be overturned on replay?