7/28/2017, 7:21 a.m.
The Free Press has long been a champion of free speech. But there are instances in which we don’t like the words being used.
Take for example the name of the Washington NFL team.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June allows trademark protection for disparaging terms. The basis of the ruling: The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.
At issue was a band’s use of a derogatory term for Asian-Americans in its name. The band’s effort to trademark its name had been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because of a federal law against registering trademarks that disparage people or groups.
The Washington NFL team’s trademark was canceled earlier based on that law. The team launched an appeal, which was on hold awaiting the high court’s decision in the band’s case.
The court held that governments may not silence messages they dislike.
We are disappointed that team officials feel shielded now by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. Legally, they are, but not morally.
The Free Press will continue to refuse to use the team’s trademarked name because it is racist, plain and simple.
With the team now in Richmond for a three-week practice stint, we will cover the players and their progress because of the large fan base among our readers. However, we will continue to omit the offensive name from our news coverage.
Using free speech as a justification to continue to denigrate and belittle Native Americans is not a right we will stand on.