Judge Bars Use of ‘Redskins’ in His Courtroom

by Andrew Johnson

A federal judge in Maryland presiding over a lawsuit involving former NFL players issued a ruling forbidding the use of the name of the Washington Redskins in the case.

Former New York Giant Barrett Green brought the lawsuit against Washington and its former tight end Robert Royal for intentionally injuring him in 2004 as part of the team’s bounty program. U.S. District Judge Peter Jo Messitte dismissed part of Green’s lawsuit, but moved forward claims of battery and civil conspiracy, according to the Washington Post.

But it was a footnote in Messitte’s 21-page ruling that barred use of the team’s name. “Pro Football’s team is popularly known as the Washington ‘Redskins,’ but the Court will refrain from using the team name unless reference is made to a direct quote where the name appears,” he wrote, saying it will be referred to as “the Washington Team.”

Messitte isn’t the only official to speak out in recent days over the team’s name, which some have deemed offensive. Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC that “the name ought to be changed.” “I think it is an offensive name,” he said. This also comes after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration last month because it concluded that the name was disparaging.

Holder has no official authority over changing the team’s name, but he has not been shy about wading into controversies concerning things he deems racially offensive or insensitive: As Charlie wrote yesterday, Holder’s Justice Department sent a member of its Community Relations Service team to investigate a Nebraska Independence Day parade float featuring a zombie in front of an outhouse marked “Obama Presidential Library.”

The Corner

The one and only.