An activist federal judge in Maryland has decided to forbid the use of the name “Redskins” from being used in court papers documenting a lawsuit an NFL player has brought against the team.
This move comes only months after a federal board governing the use of trademarks decided to cancel legal protection for the team’s name. It seems the federal government is doing its level best to make life hard for the Washington Redskins in hopes that the team will throw in the towel and give up the name.
U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte, a Bill Clinton appointee, is presiding over a lawsuit filed by New York Giants linebacker Barrett Green for a knee injury he suffered in a 2004 game with the Redskins. Green says that he was injured as part of a “bounty program” by which Redskins players were given rewards for taking out players on opposing teams.
Judge Messitte dismissed some of Green’s claims, including charges of malice and negligence, but let stand other claims such as those based on battery and civil conspiracy.
During the proceedings, the liberal judge also demanded that attorneys in the case refrain from using the name “Redskins” in his courtroom. In his recent ruling, though, he also went so far as to put that down in black and white.
“Pro Football’s team is popularly known as the Washington ‘Redskins,’ but the Court will refrain from using the team name unless reference is made to a direct quote where the name appears,” the judge wrote in a footnote to his 21-page ruling. Messitte instructed lawyers to call the Redskins “the Washington Team” in documents and in court.
The team, of course, is not “popularly known” as the Redskins. It isn’t a nickname or a euphemism. The team is actually named the Redskins.
Obama’s regime is ramping up pressure to force the football team to abandon its decades-old name. The latest prong in this attack was from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who in a July 14 interview on ABC’s This Week was seen agitating against the moniker. Fifty Senate Democrats also jumped onto the anti-Redskins bandwagon with a letter urging the team to drop the name.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.