It turns out Allen Iverson's infamous "practice" rant is useful for more than just a good laugh.
A federal judge this week cited Iverson's 2002 press conference, in which the Philadelphia 76ers star utters the phrase "we're talking about practice" 22 times. The judge, Gerald Bruce Lee, was ruling in a case concerning the cancellation of the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registrations.
Below is the clip from 2002. Iverson was responding to criticism from 76ers coach Larry Brown that he had missed several team practices:
Judge Lee affirmed a 2014 Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruling and ordered the cancellation of the Redskins’ federal trademark registrations. He claimed that in arguing for the restoration of the trademark, the team was confusing the decision not to renew the trademark with the trademark itself.
Here's the excerpt from the ruling, which is likely the first piece of legal literature to cite Allen Iverson.
— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) July 8, 2015
The judge is noting that even though he affirmed the lower court's decision to deny the team new registration, Washington can continue to use the logo until its appeals are exhausted.
While this language has certainly earned the case lots of publicity, the logic behind these words appears flimsy. In his "practice" rant, Iverson wasn't correcting a media misconception. He was arguing that even though he missed practices, he shouldn't be criticized because it was "just practice" and he was supposed to be the team's franchise player.
Judge Lee, on the other hand, is arguing that lawyers conflated two issues. He's essentially saying lawyers confused the issue of the validity of the trademark and its renewal, which is a valid point but not quite the same logic Iverson was using. Iverson was trying to distinguish between the more important of two events, while Judge Lee was attempting to clarify which issue is at stake.
Iverson was indeed "talking about practice," if only to degrade it, while Judge Lee was not talking about whether or not the trademark is offensive.