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The NFL’s Washington franchise announced on Monday that it is officially retiring the “Redskins” part of its name. What will they go by now? We have no idea.
It’s a weird move to announce a name change without a new name, and a theory is emerging that would explain why the club decided to do it that way. According to several Washington Post reporters, the preferred pick for the team’s new name is already trademarked by someone else, and the two parties are now fighting over it.
At this point we don’t know what team owner Dan Snyder’s preference is, but several sensible options have been making the rounds. Yahoo Sports’ poll of possible replacements showed that “RedTails” was the most popular option, followed by Warriors. So are either of those available?
Nope! A search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database reveals that trademark claims have already been filed for RedTails and Warriors. And that’s not all — it turns out that a bunch of possible name replacements have active trademarks, and nearly all have been filed by one guy.
That guy, Philip Martin McCaulay, is located in Virginia (according to the trademark application), and describes himself as an author and actuary on the website he set up for a few of these nicknames. There are pages for the Warriors, Monuments, Arrows, Veterans, Pandas, Founders, Federals and Red-Tailed Hawks.
The site seems to exist purely to establish or maintain the trademarks. At the top of every page is a basic title followed by one-sentence descriptions of “Number of Players,” “Scoring,” and “Winning.” It’s spectacularly low-rent, and the possibility that Snyder and the team are fighting with this guy over the new name for their 88-year-old franchise is, well, hilarious.
In the end, this feels so very Washington. Snyder spent so much time refusing to change the team’s name that he never made arrangements to protect the team itself for when the time actually came to change the name. He didn’t even do it when the team’s own quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, tweeted on July 3 that he preferred the Washington RedTails.
When did McCaulay file the trademark for the Washington RedTails? July 5, just two days later. If Snyder doesn’t get his first choice, or he has to pay a bundle for it, all he needs is a mirror to find out who to blame.
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