Despite widespread support for keeping it, the future of the Washington Redskins name could be in question after a recent decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The agency rejected an application to register “Redskins Hog Rinds” late last month because, it said, the word was a “derogatory slang term.”
The office’s decision could play a role in a lawsuit brought forth by a group of American Indians asking that the team’s trademark of “Redskins” be invalidated. The lawsuit is currently pending, but the Washington Post reports that it could be picked up any day.
The “Redskins Hog Rinds” decision isn’t the first rejection by the agency of the name. It turned down and application to trademark ”Redskins Pigskins” for the same reasons.
Controversy surrounding the word “Redskins” has emerged in recent months, prompting American-Indian groups, sportswriters, members of Congress, and even the president to call for a change. Team owner Dan Snyder has said he will never change the name. The most recent poll, conducted by Public Polling Policy, found that more than 70 percent of Americans support keeping the name.