March 15, 2011
Just when you thought the Washington Redskins couldn't get any more petty, a Washington Post article reveals how the team asked the newspaper to stop using "Redskins" in the name of its blog about the team.
For many years, the "Redskins" name was used freely in the titles of local sports highlight shows on TV and radio. No longer. The team put an end to the practice several years ago, now only permitting "authorized" uses of its name — that is, under contractual agreement. Comcast SportsNet is the "official" TV network of the team, for example, and airs a highlight program called "Redskins Nation" hosted by Larry Michael, a broadcaster who is an employee of the team. At the same time, the Redskins produce a half-dozen interview and promotional TV shows through the team-owned Redskins Broadcast Network. The programs air on local stations during the football season.
The Redskins recently asked The Washington Post to rename the newspaper's video webcast and blog about the team, which was called "Redskins Insider," according to people who have knowledge of the circumstances. The team had used the name "Redskins Insider" first, and The Post agreed to switch to "Football Insider."
It's becoming a daily struggle to continue rooting for Dan Snyder's franchise.
As with previous battles waged by the team (suing season ticket holders, suing over negative articles), the team has a point. It's completely obscured by the frivolousness of pursuing a resolution to it, but it's a point nonetheless. As Disney, Nike or any big corporation will tell you, protecting a trademark is crucial to maintaining the brand. But the Redskins aren't Disney or Nike, and the Washington Post isn't infringing upon anything other than Dan Snyder's warped view of the world.
Redskins Insider is a news blog. It rarely dabbles in opinion, focusing more on the day-to-day business of the team from a traditional reporting standpoint. The last three posts have been about players planning group workouts, the lockout's trickle-down effect and who Mel Kiper Jr. thinks the team will select with the No. 10 pick in the draft. Even the posts about Albert Haynesworth are written without condescension and ridicule. There are plenty of targets out there for the Redskins to complain about. This wasn't one of them.
By the way, Washington's NFC East rivals don't have a problem with blog names. Newspapers in Dallas, New York and Philadelphia all use the team name and/or logo in their NFL blogs without interference.
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