Dear Daniel Snyder,
Tough day, huh? It's not all the time a company is stripped of its trademark by the U.S. Patent Office . At your past job as CEO of Snyder Communications LP, I guess you didn't have to worry about that.
Well, you do at this one and here we are. The Redskins' name has been canceled by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which deemed the name "disparaging to Native Americans" (applause for the 21st century).
In principle, this allows you to keep your name, but hinders the ability of you (and the NFL) to make money off Redskins merchandise. Of course, you say you are going to appeal.
I say you shouldn't.
It's time to throw in the towel, Dan. I get it. I respect you. You're a local product from Silver Spring, Md. You spent a couple years in your early teens in London and New York, but you returned to Maryland, your true home. You grew up with the Redskins, and it means something to you.
The end is here. In the past few years, President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid advised you to change the name. In February, a senator and a congressman threatened to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status. One month ago, in the light of the Donald Sterling saga, 50 senators signed a letter urging the NFL to change the Redskins' name. There was even a commercial during the NBA Finals fighting to eliminate the name Redskins. This is not to mention the deep list of Native American organizations that are publicly against the name Redskins.
With the latest news, political action has reached a maximum. The nation is refusing to even recognize the name Redskins.
Dan, if you have ever wondered why militaries ever surrender, it is for situations like this. Your plight is sucked dry. You can appeal, but you are only postponing the inevitable. The next step is a forced strip of your name. If you do not believe professional sports teams (or the government) has that power, take a look at what is going on in Los Angeles with Sterling.
Take your medicine and realize it is not the end of the world to retire a nickname and mascot that represents a derogatory term for Native Americans, more specifically, dead Native Americans. Merrian-Webster has an opinion. So does Esquire.
The football team name originated as the Boston Americans in 1933. You were not there, but from history, I can tell you this came a few decades before the Civil Rights movement heated up. This came more than a decade before Kenny Washington became the first African-American to sign an NFL contract in 1946 with the Los Angeles Rams. The sports world was not tolerant. Now, it should be.
Surveys vary. Some say a majority of Native Americans are offended by the name Redskins. Some surveys say a majority is not offended. I am not going to look at the stats. Dan, I think we can agree on one thing. Clearly, people are offended. Maybe it is only 30-40 percent of Native Americans. Nonetheless, a large chunk of people are offended. Why should we keep a name if even the slightest group of people feel legitimately offended?
Even if "Lone Star" Dietz, was indeed the namesake for the Redskins -- and there is significant doubt -- and he was not offended, other living Native Americans are offended. They should be respected.
Look at that logo. It is a mockery of a people. Human genes do not make faces that red. Also, feathers represent Plains Indians. Is Landover, Md. in the Great Plains?
Unfortunately, we have a long list of previous and current teams with Native American names at the professional, collegiate and high school level to study (Have you seen the Wikipedia page?). Disregarding the obvious fact the Redskins are the most offensive name, let us look at what some other teams have done.
In the NBA, the Warriors had Native American imagery during their 1946-1962 stretch in Philadelphia. In the Bay Area, the Warriors' name morphed out of its Native American roots into a secular style.
At the NCAA level, dozens of schools have changed their names in the past half century. Most people forget when Jim Boeheim started coaching Syracuse, the athletic teams were called the Saltine Warriors. Julius Erving and Chris Mullin played for the Redmen of UMass and St. John's, respectively. Doc Rivers was a Marquette Warrior.
Perhaps most relevant to your case, Woody Hayes coached the Miami (Ohio) Redskins from 1949-1950, winning the 1951 Salad Bowl (I couldn't resist that digression. Can you believe there was a postseason game called the Salad Bowl?).
In 1997, thanks to a push from then-Miami University vice president of student affairs Dr. Myrtis Powell, who sought support from the Oklahoma-based Miami tribe, the university changed its name to the RedHawks. The athletic programs have lived on for nearly two decades. Whether Ben Roethlisberger was a Redskin or a RedHawk did not seem to hinder his playing ability.
Dan, Miami offers a helping hand:
— Miami Athletics (@MiamiRedHawks) June 18, 2014
Wave the white flag, but do it with pride. We respect your passion for your team, but we cannot respect your passion for a disparaging mascot.
You can end this all right now and start working for a better future. The Redskins had a good run. We will not forget it. The Atlanta Braves' Chief Noc-A-Homa may be defunct and the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo may have relegated, but their stories have not died. The Washington Redskin will always be a historic image in the NFL (and if you are thinking what about the names Braves and Indians, they are not very good either, but for now, your particularly derogatory name needs to be taken care of).
In 2014, there is no place for the Redskin. Embrace this rather than deny it.
If you are worried about money, don't be. So what, people will not be able to buy traditional Redskins' gear? They'll have to buy all the new stuff pertaining to whatever new mascot you create.
Best of luck,
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.