There is growing support for the idea of the NFL's franchise in Washington, D.C., to change its nickname from the Redskins to something else.
With the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's decision this week to cancel the Redskins' trademark registration – which the office called "disparaging to Native Americans" – it potentially means the Redskins would be handcuffed in their options related to merchandising, and NFL merchandising is a colossal moneymaking machine (the Redskins are said to be the third-most valuable NFL franchise, behind Dallas and New England and, indeed, they have a fan base much broader than merely in and around Washington, D.C. I know a couple of Pictou County football fans who love the ’Skins, and have for years.
The marketing money will still be there, and could actually grow: if they changed the name, every fan would have to run out and buy brand new jerseys, beer mugs, pennants, hoodies, coats, hats, licence plates, key chains, socks. It is a simple truth: practically anything you can think of could have an NFL logo thrown on it and then be ridiculously overpriced.
According to some articles I pored through this week – just because some bureaucrat labels something offensive to Native Americans doesn't mean you should automatically believe it – that North American Natives generally feel the term "Redskin" is as offensive as the N-word. (This week, I asked a friend of mine, who has native blood in him, if the word bothered him, and he said it didn't.)
While I try not to bend over backward to be politically correct, it's time the Redskins changed their name to something else. It's not even a matter of adhering to political correctness, it's now become a matter of common sense.
The Redskins are appealing the ruling, but it's difficult to see the Redskins keeping that nickname for very long. Another year, maybe a couple of more, but eventually they will bow to pubic pressure, and in this case, I don't think that would be a bad thing. Sooner or later it will happen, so it might as well be sooner, if for no other reason than to get it over with.
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Non-Sports Thought of the Week: Sad, but not surprising, to see it's business as usual in the Middle East. Apparently, efforts of the Canadian and U.S. militaries to "spread democracy" and promote peace in the Middle East might need a few more years, because the last eight years or so weren't enough. Did we really think that once western forces pulled out of there, all would be hunky dory? Someone over there is always starting something. Always.
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Maybe Eugenie Bouchard isn't feeling much pressure (she seems to be the rare type of athlete who wants the pressure, and thrives off it), but after semifinal appearances at the first two Grand Slam tennis championships of 2014, expectations are surely to be higher for the 20-year-old Canadian as she enters Wimbledon with loftier goals than she might have had a year ago, when she lost in the third round at the All-England Club. Bouchard, semifinalist at the Australian Open in January and again earlier this month at French Open, is seeded 13th heading into Wimbledon. Grass court tennis doesn't suit everyone's game (the ball bounces lower and even the well-manicured lawns of Wimbledon can produce some tricky hops), and we'll see if Bouchard can bring her success on the hard courts of Melbourne and the red clay of Paris to the London suburb of Wimbledon.
Wimbledon is the greatest title in tennis, and if you only win one tournament, that'd be the one you'd want the most.
Kevin Adshade is a sports columnist for The News.