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Sorting Out the Redskins’ Trademark Issues

I was recently contacted by a representative of attorney James McCarthy, who’s a partner at the intellectual property law firm McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff. McCarthy was described to me as “a sports-loving lawyer” who had previously written about sports branding, and who could therefore help sort out some of the issues regarding the current trademark litigation involving the Redskins’ team name.

I suggested doing an e-mail interview with McCarthy, and he agreed. I didn’t ask about his personal feelings regarding the team’s name, and he didn’t offer them. We just stuck to the legal issues. Here we go:

Uni Watch: Let’s start with the whole notion of what a trademark is (and isn’t). Can you please provide a quick, layman’s explanation of what a trademark is, how trademark law works, and why all of this is so important to the sports world?

James McCarthy: A trademark is an identification of the source of a product or service. Therefore, the trademark REDSKINS indicates the source of any shirts, uniforms, or football games bearing that mark, just like the trademark COCA-COLA or McDONALD’S indicates the source of beverages or food/restaurants, respectively. In the United States, the value of a trademark is based on how extensively and where the mark is used. Federal registration of a trademark will allow the owner to have presumptive nationwide rights regardless of how and where the mark is used. Since the REDSKINS mark is used in all 50 states, they have common law rights based on use, as well as nationwide rights based on the Federal registrations.

UW: What are the basic parameters of the current legal action aimed at stripping the Redskins of their trademark protection?

JM: The current action is being brought by a group of American Indians claiming that the mark is “scandalous,” since U.S. Trademark law prohibits the registration of any mark that is considered “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.”

The action, if successful, would result in the cancellation of the REDSKINS federal trademark registration. The Redskins would still have nationwide common law rights.

UW: In your opinion, do the plaintiffs have a good case?

JM: It’s difficult to know this. In a previous action, the plaintiffs successfully canceled the [team’s] registration, but the decision was ultimately overturned on appeal because the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case. This new action seeks to remedy the standing issue, but the merits of the case will be strongly contested. Both sides will submit evidence showing that the REDSKINS mark is (or is not) “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter.”

Potentially more problematic than the case, however, is the recent House bill that is seeking to amend the U.S. Trademark laws to prohibit any registrations using the term redskins in reference to Native Americans. The new legislation would cancel the current registrations without the need for costly litigation and uncertain results. It could also limit the Redskins’ access to Federal courts to enforce their common law rights. In the longer term, additional legislation could be drafted to attempt to further limit the Redskins’ First Amendment rights (by defining the team name as hate speech, etc.).

UW: I’m told that you believe that even if the Redskins lose their trademark protection, it will not impact them financially. Why not?

JM: Even if the REDSKINS trademark registrations are cancelled, they still have very valuable, nationwide common law rights based on the extensive and continuous use of the mark. These rights are exclusive and enforceable.

In addition to the basic trademark rights, the team has a First Amendment right to “commercial speech” that probably protects its ability to use the term REDSKINS, even if the trademark registration is lost.

UW: Redskins lawyer Robert Raskopf has said that the team would suffer “every imaginable loss you can think of” if it no longer had the exclusive marketing rights to its name. Agree or disagree?

JM: I agree that the loss of exclusive marketing rights would be very damaging to the team’s finances in the short term. However, as described above, I cannot image a situation where that would be the end result. The common law use of the term REDSKINS has been too extensive and the common law rights are too strong. In addition, they have rights in other images that do not include the name REDSKINS (the Native American head design, the “R” design, etc.).

UW: Gut feeling: Taking everything into account (legal issues, public opinion, political pressure, etc.), will the Redskins still be called the Redskins 15 years from now?

JM: The brand is so valuable, and First Amendment rights are so valued in the United States, that the Redskins will probably be named the Redskins for as long as the team’s owners want to keep the name. It is doubtful that they will be forced to change it. However, political pressure, the reaction of the fan base and consumers, or a change of ownership could result in a voluntary decision to change the name. They could follow the path of colleges like Marquette (Warriors to Golden Eagles) or Miami of Ohio (Redskins to Red Hawks) and choose to change. The extensive exposure of the NFL and the value of current broadcasting rights would allow them to acquire very valuable rights in any new name and trademark very quickly.

UW: Okay, so you’re basically saying anything is possible — but we all knew that already. I’m asking you what you think will happen.

JM: Fifteen years is a long time. Certainly opinions can change — it was only about 15 years ago that President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act that was just challenged in the Supreme Court. Based on the state of the laws today, however, I would guess that the Redskins will still be the Redskins 15 years from now, especially since it has been over 20 years since the trademark was originally challenged.

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Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off a few custom-engraved tins of Farkas Eye Black. For details, look here.

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Show & Tell ”” Help Wanted: The good news is that the next installment of my monthly Show & Tell event is coming up next Wednesday, April 10, 8pm, at Freddy’s. The bad news is that my photographer just cancelled on me, so I could use a shutterbug for the evening. The photos are simple portraits in a poorly lit room, like the ones you see on the S&T site. Compensation is, admittedly, meager: free beer, plus we pass the hat for the photographer. (There’s no cover charge and I don’t get paid for this gig, so nobody else is making any $$$ either — it’s strictly a fun volunteer project.) Interested? If so, drop me a line. Thanks.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Mets wore their new alt cap for the first time yesterday. I’m fine with the orange brim but hate — hate — the white outline on the logo, which looks way too clunky. ”¦ UVA baseball went G.I. Joe the other day (from Steve H). … New rugby kit for the Australian Wallabies (From Josh Jacobs). … Looks like Arkansas football has a new secondary logo. “It appears on the cover of the spring football guide and is also used as a header on every page within,” says Seth Shaw. … Several readers have noted that the demise of the Cool Flo batting helmet means, among other things, that the Rockies are now wearing solid purple helmets, instead of the black/purple hybrid they’d been wearing in recent years. … Casey Vock has brought my attention to his site, ILGear, which is devoted to lacrosse uniforms and equipment. Here’s a representative article, about Syracuse’s gray helmets and jerseys for this weekend. … Kyle Peterson has unlocked some of the clues to the Vikings’ new uniforms, revealing that the jersey will apparently have a Nikelace but no neck roll. … Some emergency state funding has saved the Towson baseball team. So the players have taken the tape off their jersey chests (from Mike McIntosh). … Dan Hutcheson wondered what it would be like if every team in a given city used the same colors, sort of like in Pittsburgh. Here’s what he came up with. “I’m sure changing colors of some teams is blasphemy in some areas, but it was a fun and interesting project,” he says. … Dan Klempner saw this awesome satin baseball uni at a museum in Alameda, California. … Josh Reddick of the A’s in involved in a beard-growing challenge (from Kurt Esposito). … The old Big East teams will reportedly rebrand as the AAC. … A Bay Area insurance company is taking some serious liberties with the Warriors’ logo (from Sean Robbins). … You can now vote on WVU’s official fan shirt, whatever that means (from Brice Wallace). ”¦ New wordmark for UConn. Its rollout was accompanied by this “Marking is your friend” letter from the university president, which was sent to all students and faculty yesterday (from Gregory Koch). ”¦ New kits for Barca (from Joe Schmidt). ”¦ “Had some time to kill in Midland, Texas, so I checked out the Commemorative Air Force Airpower Museum, which had a few uni-notable items,” says Matthew Wolfram. “First, they had a picture of FDR wearing a black armband while signing the declaration of war on the Japanese. And the museum’s list year-by-year list of notable items included an interesting NFL note for 1945.” ”¦ A familiar but disturbing sight during cold-weather games: double logo creep (screen shot by Diego Bauzá). ”¦ Speaking of cold weather, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey said he didn’t wear a jacket while running on the bases on Tuesday night because he believes a jacket doesn’t belong on a baseball field.” ”¦ Here’s Michael Morse of the Mariners swinging a bat with a Nationals knob decal (good spot by Jason Mott). ”¦ “The skateboard apparel company LRG (Lifted Research Group) has ‘lifted’ the old White Sox logo,” says Andrew Lockett. ”¦ “I am a high school umpire in New Mexico,” says Adam Minnick. “I recently did a game in which Goddard High School went old-school. All their players went high-cuffed.” ”¦ Good, long article on the situation involving Native American nicknames, mascots, etc. (Kurt Esposito again). ”¦ Last week I mentioned Cerulean Salt, which is the excellent new album by the indie band Waxahatchie. Saw them live the night before last, and boy are they good. Don’t miss. ”¦ Kevin Youlkilis tried to black out the Nike logo on his undershirt collar last night (from Alex Melendez). … As several readers have noticed, MLB can’t decide if this is Opening Day, Opening Series, or Opening Week. … Befuddling day for those of us who are meat fanatics, as the beef and pork industries have come up with a new set of meat naming standards. Eh, just forget it — one man’s shell steak is another’s New York strip and yet another’s Kansas City strip, and there’s no way you’re gonna get everyone to stop using their preferred nomenclature. … Truly hideous G.I. Joes for Gardner Webb baseball (from Bob Taylor). ”¦ “My alma mater, East Tennessee State University, has decided to restart its football program, which ended in 2003,” writes Jason Roberts. “At the press conference announcing the program, they had several helmet prototypes, including one using the school’s official tartan pattern. I’ve not seen that type of stripe on a helmet before.” ”¦ The Pro Bowl, aka the Thing That Wouldn’t Die, may get a new, draft-based format, sort of like choosing up sides in gym class or something. As Johnny Bruno points out, “This would likely make the uniforms even more ridiculous.” ”¦ Also from Johnny: Possible rebranding in the works for SUNY-Buffalo.

Around 11am I’ll be heading to LaGuardia and flying to Seattle, where I’ll be spending the next several days. Looking forward to meeting lots of you on Monday night, 7:30pm, at the College Inn Pub. See you then/there.

Monday’s and Tuesday’s entries may be posted a few hours later than usual, since I’ll be on west coast time. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Comments (158)

    I was surprised by how much I liked both the ideas and execution on this. A fun project, and in many cases, it works very nicely. There are some instances where the team’s name all but requires a color combo that wouldn’t match the scheme; see Patriots and Rangers. And those are the wrong colors for Minnesota: Blue and green would be a much better choice, followed by green and red.

    Still, I love the dark red and bright blue scheme for all Washington teams, and I’ve long wished that the Red Sox would ditch the navy for dark green.

    I was shocked he went with Orange for the city of Chicago. considering almost all the teams have Red, Black, White or some combination of the three, except for the Bears.

    I liked some of tha alternative colors in this experiment, but why is it that the football team always got to be the one that imposed its colors on all the other sports’ teams?

    Looking at them more closely, I see that while most of them are football-centric, not all of them are. The green and red for Boston, which mix the baseball team with the color of the walls of their stadium, look particularly inspired.

    Can we let the Jags to LA thing die already….it’s not happening. The new owner is putting millions of dollars into the city of Jax and the renovating the stadium and LA isn’t even close to getting a stadium built. Let it go people….let it go.

    Completely agree on the Mets’ alt caps. Orange bill is fine but the white outline on the crest kills it, especially when the standard orange-on-blue crest looks so good. The outline just muddles the look. Think of it this way: On the Mets’ standard cap, you can pick out the “NY” logo from an appreciable distance; on the alt cap, you have to be a lot closer to see what it is.

    I think this cap would be fine without the white outline. Hopefully we won’t be making a habit out of wearing these with the white alts, or in day games, &c.

    The alt caps worn by the Mets are pretty underwhelming in my eyes, especially compared to the rest of that great uni. I don’t see much baseball, and very very little of the Mets. How long have they had that jersey? Very sweet.

    It seems the cap designs for the Mets aren’t researched too carefully. I have a hard time believing they didn’t mock one up without a white outline, or perhaps with the white and orange stitching switched. Both would have been preferable. Even my favorite, the hated black hat with the blue bill, would have been better had the orange and blue on the monogram been reversed.

    Agreed vis-à-vis the old two-tone black/blue cap, in that (1) reversing the crest colors would have been an improvement, and (2) I did hate it. I didn’t hate the design so much as the fact that (a.) the club felt the need to wear it all the time, with all of the uniforms, when it was only meant to be worn with the black jerseys; (b.) it looked terrible with the other uniforms, especially with the whites; (c.) it led to the adoption of black undersleeves, socks and belts which made things look even worse; (d.) they adopted it as the de facto (later de jure) road cap paired with the gray jerseys, thereby depriving the world of the best-looking road uni in MLB for an excruciating 13 years; (e.) they did all this while still falsely and dishonestly designating the seldom-worn blue cap as the official cap, including designating it as the official road cap from 1999-2000 even though it was never once worn on the road during those years; and (f) they made the Mets the only team in MLB history with officially-designated home and road caps to ever, let alone routinely, wear its road cap at home.

    Aside from the outline/drop shadow, I didn’t mind the all-black cap paired with the away jersey. Yes, the blue/orange/gray combo is gorgeous but the gray/blue/black was a nice alternative look.

    The black/blue cap hurt my eyes no matter what jersey it was paired with.


    The all-black cap (which refers to the one with the black crown and bill and the blue/white/orange crest) was never worn with the gray road jerseys; only the two-tone cap (black crown/blue bill, blue/orange crest) was worn with the grays after they stopped wearing the blue cap with them sometime during the 1998 season (I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly when but haven’t yet). The all-black cap was worn with the road version of the black jersey that was used from 1999-2008.

    The gray jersey with the two-tone cap and black drop-shadow might have been a “nice alternative look” if they wore it, say, once a month. Wearing it in every road game but one for 13 years (excluding black-jersey games, obviously) was nothing short of an abomination.

    True, they flogged the snot out of the black accessories when they had the chance. And the resulting combo made them veer a bit too close to the San Francisco Giants for comfort. But as I’m wont to repeat, I love a different spin on an old favorite.

    On that other issue, the Redskins will never be compelled by law to change their name. The interviewee makes it pretty clear why, but I think that’s been clear for a long time.

    One of the reasons why the trademark wasn’t canceled the last time around, in addition to the standing problem, was because it’s been used for that purpose for so long that more people associate the word “Redskins” with the football team than with the racial slur. I must confess, that’s the case with me. I started watching football avidly in 8th grade, between the year the Redskins won the Super Bowl and the year they lost it. My whole life, when I’ve heard the word “Redskins” I’ve thought of nothing other than the football team. I had to learn or be told, much later on, that it was once used as a racial slur against American Indians.

    By contrast, I first learned about the “n-word” at a very, very young age, maybe 5 or so, when my father was reading Tom Sawyer to my brother and me at bedtime. He said there was a word in the book that he was not going to say whe he read it, because it was a very mean and hurtful thing to say to or about people. I pressed him to say what the word was, being intellectually curious even at five, and he eventually reluctantly did so, but in a tone of voice that made me realize how serious it was, and that I should never ask him to say it again and never use it myself.

    That wasn’t the case with “Redskins;” to me that was always just a football team. That doesn’t make it right and that doesn’t mean that the Washington football club (and the Cleveland and Atlanta baseball clubs, the Chicago hockey club, etc.) shouldn’t change the name. But the law is not going to do it for them, no matter how many people ar epersonally offended by it.

    I had the same experience as you. I grew up in DC and when someone said “Redskins”, I didn’t think hate speech, I thought John Riggins, Joe Theismann and Art Monk.

    Same here, although when I grew up I was thinking Sonny Jurgensen, Roy Jefferson and Larry Brown.

    Re: Dan Hutcheson’s project, red and blue makes the most sense for the DC teams, but I just can’t give up having the football team clad in burgundy and gold.

    I’m with you on the tartan stripe! I also dig the logo on the front of the helmet as an alternative helmet.

    How long have teams been using variants of the “Opening Day” logo on their fields? It seems this happens every year. I sort of like that there are options to use slightly different terminology.

    That’s it. I had said “aged”, but you nailed it. Put them in black shoes and make/let them play outside again, and the earth will return to normal.

    There was a close-up of the wordmark in between the NFL collar logo and the front numbers.
    I have no problem with a de-emphasis of white when purple and gold are plenty contrasting on their own, but is that the same gold? I hope so, I don’t think metallic gold would look so good on the Vikings.

    That skateboard apparel comapny logo is just plain LAME.

    That’s a skateboard???? That’s what you do with one????

    Not in MY day.

    Purple – check. Pirate/Buccaneer – check. ‘East’ as the first word in the University name – check. If ETSU ever played East Carolina, how would anyone ever tell them apart?

    If the Sopranos was still on the air, Satriales would be giving classes on pork butchery; the “instructor” would be having flashbacks about a corpse he applied the same cuts to and the old guys would be trying to pickup the college broads that come in for classes.

    How did ETSU of Johnson City, TN, deep in the Appalachians, acquire the “Buccaneers” nickname?

    I mean, Pittsburgh isn’t exactly the most maritime of cities either, but a buccaneer could conceivably row up the Mississippi and the Ohio and end up there. But why East Tennessee State and piracy?

    The Pirates were named so several years after their founding because the team was well heeled enough (think of the late 1800s- early 1900s) to “pirate” or steal other team’s players. And there were river pirates with less sartorial splendor roaming along the 3 rivers.

    Since when do mascots always have to be relational to the geography?

    I like when they are…or have some meaning to the history. But, that’s probably less common than just random mascot naming.

    Well, I’d thought something as specific as a pirate would have some local significance (though ECU exactly isn’t a coastal school either).

    Is it ‘lifting’ on LRG’s part, or paying homage? Regardless, it’s nothing new. Given the popularity of jerseys and uniforms in street wear fashion, a lot street wear brands do it regularly.

    – Mishka: (link)
    – Fully Laced:
    – KLP: (link)
    – Breezy Excursion: (link)

    Perhaps the best example, or at least my favorite, is Black Scale’s Pirates jersey:

    Street wear brands can always argue that use of the logo amounts to commentary on the original logos (plus, word marks with no graphical logos are not protected by copyright). So legally (if not creatively), LRG is in the clear.

    Now, I don’t know how the insurance company expects to defend itself if the Warriors decide to take action, especially since there’s not even an attempt at modifying the logo.

    re: new Barcelona kits

    The home kit is, as usual, whatever. I could do without the yellow collar, but it’s not terrible.

    I think the away kit is trying to mimic the Catalan flag, but it’s not working for me and it ends up looking like a cheap second division kit.

    There’s also a third BFBS kit that’s not shown in the kit, but that’s probably the classiest looking of all.

    Finally, a minor editorial quibble: it should be “Barça”, not “Barca”.

    That away kit is light years ahead of the orange/yellow gradient mess they’re wearing now. Saw one of those in the wild last week, absolutely hideous.

    I like the allusion to the flag, which I think is one of the strongest in all vexillology.

    They are indeed echoing the Catalan flag. Barca (you can add your own cedilla with a fine point black Sharpie)is a key symbol in the Catalan independence movement, and they play that role to the hilt.

    They have a long history of egregious change kits — lots of gradients, lots of weird, day-glo colors. This is a huge improvement.

    And with all due respect, the Barcelona home shirt, when done right (not with broken stripes and gradients or any of that funny stuff) deserves a lot more respect that a flat “whatever.”

    The black looks like black almost always looks — unimaginative, uninspired, and boring. If you’re not a San Antonio Spur, an Oakland Raider, or a Kiwi, you shouldn’t be wearing all black.

    I kinda expect away kits to be garish, but I think what bothers me is that this one is basically an alternate color version of the home kit, which makes gives it a knockoff look.

    I appreciate the nod to the Catalan flag, but seems like it should’ve been horizontal hoops instead of vertical stripes.

    My “whatever” response is because it’s not awful (like the last couple of versions), but it’s not as good as some of the past versions. I think Barcelona’s generally looked better with thicker (but not too thick) stripes, but even with thinner stripes, I’ve seen better treatments:



    Now, I don’t like seeing “Barca” without the cedilla because that makes me think of living room furniture, not the city on the Mediterranean.

    I agree completely — the last few home kits have been wretched. I guess the fact that this one looks at least kind of sort of like a classic Barca shirt, made me protective.

    I’m not a Barca supporter, but their classic look is really classic.

    I couldn’t figure out how to put the cedilla on my post. And I am too lazy to figure it out. Rest assured, I was lisping like Sergio Busquets while I was typing it.

    The Barça change kit is a salute to the Senyera (Catalonian Flag) which has deep political meaning in the Catalonian region, and yes, it is much more palatable on the eyes than the current yellow and orange gradient mess. Please don’t refer to any all-black soccer third kit as BFBS. In that context, the statement is like scratching nails on a chalk board. The choice of colors for a third kit is highly functional, in large part because in most European football (most national associations and the two UEFA competitions), there is no general protocol that mandates either club must wear white.

    There is a primary kit in the club’s traditional colors, a change kit in non-traditional colors that contrast with the home kit for away matches against clubs with a similar primary kit color scheme; think Chelsea & Everton, which both wear blue tops.

    The third kit is for matches in specific non-association competitions (national cup or UEFA) or for visiting matches when neither the primary nor change kit provides enough contrast with the home team’s primary kit – think of a club that has all red or all blue as a primary, and all white as a change kit playing a club with the same colored top with white shorts.

    It is for that reason that a third kit is USUALLY all black or very dark – to provide contrast, (think Chelsea or Bayern München) and not merely BFBS.

    scratch that, the link you provide requires you to click on the link to the new identity program, upon clicking that it takes me to the same “not found” screen that the link in the ticker does.

    Looks like this is entirely on UConn’s side

    I kind of like the idea of choosing-up-sides for the Pro Bowl. Didn’t the NHL do that?

    Years ago while I was teaching and working at summer camp, at the latter I and a few friends on staff started an intramural baseball tournament, in which we got to draft our own teams from among the kids who signed up to play. It was great fun and a great event. A few years later the camp kind of took it over, made it a camp-wide event with pre-made teams, viz., no more draft, and that took the fun out of it for me. It’s not analogous, I know, it’s just the reason I like the idea. I doubt it’ll make anyone not inclined to watch the Pro Bowl so inclined, but for the three of us who are, it’s a cool idea.

    And can you imagine a defensive end who decides to take a snub personally, and takes it out on the opposite QB? That’s actual drama!

    Sure. No harm in that. Maybe fantasy fans will identify with it and check it out; who knows. Can’t be worse than what it already is, might as well try something.

    This is my favorite suggested name:

    New York Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

    It looks like there’s a system-wide push at SUNY to raise its brand awareness, which led to this somewhat cringeworthy but earnestly cute “anthem” video:


    LOL. I used to use that when I taught high school English, as an exercise in sentence construction and diagnosis.

    I think you left one off; the sentence is:

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    But you could leave of the first word, or the next-to-last word, or both, and still be grammatically valid:

    Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.


    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.


    Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.

    I can’t take credit for that – it’s from the linked article.

    Anyway, it’s one “Buffalo” short because the first one is replaced by “New York”.

    Ah, gotcha; I didn’t realize “New York” was meant to replace the first “Buffalo.” I thought the “Buffalo buffalo buffalo….” string was meant to be the object of “New York.”

    Syracuse has been trying to brand itself as “NYC’s team” for at least five years, if not longer. I’m not aware of them having much luck with that no matter how many taxitop ads they buy.

    Yeah, but that sign doesn’t say “NYC”. It says “New York,” which I took to mean the state.

    Have they explicitly said “New York City’s Team” anywhere?

    I think the “city” part has been implicit (since they don’t want to alienate western New York). I think the “New York’s team” campaign has been exclusive to NYC metro.

    I stand corrected. But the way Syracuse has used “New York’s college team”, I think the subtext is still pretty clear – they really want to be the City’s team:

    Then again, that’s implying they have to be distinct separation between the city and the state.

    Which actually reminds me of something I find odd — the drivers licenses read “New York State” — as if the city had the power to issue them as well.

    I’ve always attributed Syracuse’s NY-centric marketing efforts as a way to assert its “ownership” of all of NY State, but most particularly NYC. Two reasons I think you have to link Syracuse’s marketing concept with NYC specifically.

    1 – Syracuse already dominates the Upstate market. There would be no reason for them to gear an ad campaign to that end.

    2 – More importantly, Syracuse realized that the national sports media (as validated by the B1G conference and the owners of the Empire State Building) has a dangerous tendency to connect RUTGERS, rather than ‘Cuse, with New York City (being in the same media market and all). As such, Cuse geared a marketing campaign toward winning the NYC market by appealing to New Yorkers’ disdain for tying their identity to anything that is just…so…Jersey.

    Also, it’s easy to get the impression that Syracuse *is* NYC’s team at a casual glance because of the alumni presence.

    They want to make it look like New Yorkers are Syracuse fans, when the truth is the other way around – Syracuse alums are more likely to end up in New York than any other big city. They’re no different from Penn State alums or Duke alums in New York. And I doubt that any amount of marketing is going to get New Yorker unaffiliated with SU to become SU supporters any time soon.

    I’m sure the “New Yorkers” in Syracuse are Syracuse fans.

    There’s got to be a different demonym for someone from the city as opposed to the state. Upstater doesn’t work for someone from, say, Jamestown.

    I’ll concede you’re probably right, simply because the majority of the people in the state of New York are in the city. While I’ve seen the billboards in other parts of the state, I can’t say I’ve seen in Buffalo or Rochester, places that are notably Western New York.

    My bad about my confusing use of “New Yorkers”. You’re right about the need for a term that distinguishes Gothamites from the rest of the state.

    Buffalo has an enormous inferiority complex. And a long history of ill-fated efforts to convince people to respect it.

    In the 70’s, city boosters decided that being named after a hulking, hairy beast hurt the city’s image. They proposed a renaming the city. Their proposal? “New Buffalo”. It never quite caught fire.

    Most of the kids at UB are from downstate (although I think Stony Brook has cut into that population). UB is the biggest school in the SUNY system, but it gets no respect.

    Having grown up there, I’ve always felt the best rebranding for Buffalo is a slogan like, “It’s Not As Bad As You Think” or “There Are No Buffalo Here. Just People.”

    I don’t know if this was posted, but that dastardly Darren Rovell had a surprisingly useful article, on why adidas’s Kevin Ware t-shirt was a bad idea (grain of salt: it’s from the POV of the lawyer representing Ed O’Bannon in the suit against the NCAA): link

    But basically, don’t read anything into the “donating royalties from the shirt to a scholarship fund” gesture. That was Louisville trying to be cute with NCAA’s rules against (explicitly) capitalizing on a player’s fame.

    Not to mention the harder-to-calculate value of extending the “Rise to the Occasion” and “All In” slogans.

    It’s weird that people are excusing Louisville because it’s forgoing royalties (but obviously, not the transaction revenues from its bookstore and website), but forgetting that adidas is also a player.

    Insightful interview. And I completely concur with the attorney that this issue is ultimately about the First Amendment.

    Two things. First, the great satin baseball uni appears to be in a showcase with photos of a women’s team, making it either a women’s baseball uni or a softball uni. Second, the GI Joe item today made me wonder why it’s always men’s teams who dress up in camo. After all, there are women in the military also. Could it be that the lack of GI Jane unis is due to common sense being more common among women’s teams?

    Clearly, someone hasn’t done a search for ‘camouflage lingerie’.

    I see your point, re: sports apparel, but still, don’t underestimate the market for *any* product category.

    I have not done a search for ‘camouflage lingerie,’ but I suspect I wouldn’t see much if I did.

    On another note, I was speaking of the aftermarket for camo unis, not underwear. As far as I know, those aren’t in the same ballpark.

    The re-colored logos are fun. Denver and San Francisco are the ones that really stand out. The red Shark is probably the best of the bunch.

    Aesthetic merits of that particular thought experiment aside, the last thing the NHL needs is another team with a red and black color scheme.

    Not for nothin but philadelphia’s colors are blue and gold…hence those throwback uniforms the eagles wore against the lions in 2007.

    For what it’s worth, I have created a petition at urging the President to officially condemn the Washington NFL team’s nickname. If it gets 100,000 signatures by May 5, 2013 then the White House is obligated to give an official response. Even if mine fails, maybe someone more eloquent can write one we can all get behind.


    Given how polarized politics have become in recent years, wouldn’t that just lead to the other side just being that much more outspoken in favor of the name? Not to mention that an “official condemnation” has no legal power.

    You’d be better off trying to convince people to write the Redskins organization directly, stating that they’re offended and asking the team to change.

    The team has already made it clear they aren’t planning to change the name despite public outcry. But if the government urges them to change it, and can enact legislation preventing construction of a new stadium in D.C. unless the name is changed, then that changes things.

    Wouldn’t that just lead to Redskins pitting Maryland and Virginia against each other for a new stadium?

    I know the Redskins are talking about a new DC stadium, but it would happily stay in the suburbs if the new stadium is contingent on backtracking on its current stance and alienating some powerful season ticket holders.

    This is a slippery slope. Today’s Redskins may be tomorrow’s ???. Enlisting the federal government to “urge” palatable speech is chilling – even for something as seemingly inane as the name of a football team.

    Not unlike any given television show, movie, book, song, speech, that offends your sensibilities of good taste, simply don’t be a party to it. Ignore it. If others follow, it will wither a natural death as we hope most of today’s reality TV will soon succumb.

    But let’s agree to keep Uncle Sam out of it.

    Yeah, as much as I dislike the Redskins name, it’s not like school segregation where government intervention works for the greater good.

    I like what Paul does – he simply doesn’t mention the team by its name. It’s subtle and maybe ineffectual, but he gets his point across.

    I’m relatively new to the DC metro area, and if I didn’t already have a pre-existing NFL allegiance, I think my dislike for the name would drive me to support the Ravens instead. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels this way. IMHO, *that* is what should drive any name change, not government action.

    That said, the Redskins’ current “See, so many high schools call themselves the ‘Redskins’!” PR campaign is pathetic.

    It’s not infringing on free speech because no one is being tried with anything criminal. It’d just be saying “Hey, if you want our help, you’re going to need to stop behaving poorly”. And technically, the team isn’t in Washington now, so there’d be nothing wrong with the city saying “We no longer want to be associated with something like this, so either change the name, or stop using our city name.” It’s a similar tactic to what San Francicso considered doing with the 49ers when they chose to build a new stadium in Santa Clara.

    It is commonplace for governmment to express opinions and condemn certain forms of speech. Condemning is NOT prosecuting. It’s essentially a meaningless move, that only really has the effect of impacting public opinion.

    It’s not often that two days in a row, I agree with something THE says.

    Also, and I’m doing this from memory, but didn’t DC also try to use stadium pressure back in like ’61 or ’62 to get Marshall to draft a black player? Seeing as the team had been the only one in the NFL whose owner who refused to allow a black player on the team. Pretty sure the Kennedy admin had to put his feet to the fire or he wouldn’t get to play in DC stadium. That led to his drafting (and trading) Ernie Davis.

    DC Stadium, as it was known before Robert F Kennedy was murdered, was at first owned by the US Department of the Interior. In I believe 1961, both Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and Attorney General Robert F Kennedy threatened the Redskins with federal action – on the one hand, Interior could break the lease, and on the other, Justice could bring a civil rights suit – if the Redskins did not integrate.That led to Davis and before long to the team employing a few black players.

    Brother of Mo, father of Tom, uncle of Mark. And Wiki tells me that Stewart managed his brother’s presidential campaign in 1976.

    We have ways to make you laugh:

    “Former Federal Communications Commission officials are arguing that it is illegal to say the name of Washington, D.C.’s professional football team on broadcast television and radio.

    They argue that the name “Redskins” is offensive to American Indians and violates federal rules banning indecent material on public airwaves.”


    Because, as I’ve always said, the very best judge of whether or not something is offensive is a member of a group that has not been systematically dehumanized, ostracized and offended for the last several centuries.

    In that high school stirrup photo sent in by the ump, I think he failed to mention the runner was awarded home plate. Clearly an obstruction by the 3rd baseman:)

    The demise of the cool-flo helmets is directly tied to the MLB mandate for exclusive use of the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp helmets, which are designed to withstand 100 mph pitches. The only exemption MLB allows for players is if the helmet is double-ear flapped. The mandate is accepted per the MLBPA Collective Bargaining agreement.

    The Arkansas secondary logo looks AWESOME. I’m not a fan of Ark at all, but I think they did a great job with that logo and branding.

    As a Towson alum, I’m not sure how I feel about the state using supplemental funding to rescue the school’s baseball team. It’s great for the kids on the team and I love their pinstriped uniforms, but it feels like an underhanded way to get around complying with Title IX. Maybe if the state had been willing to put hundreds of thousands of dollars from the supplemental budget into creating more women’s teams at Towson, they wouldn’t have had to cut baseball and soccer in the first place. And I can’t help but feeling that there must be some better use of the state’s money.

    Hmmm.. I wonder why the Phils aren’t wearing their cream day game uniforms today. Is it because its the home opener? Anybody know?

    The Reds have often used their home whites for Opening Day, then played every other home day game in their red softball tops. But I thought the Phillies were consistent in always wearing the creams for day games and the pins for night games.

    i dont normally watch the Royals, so is that a new version o f the script “kansas city” on their away jerseys?

    Paul, totally agree on the band Waxahatchee, great stuff, can’t wait til they come to Minneapolis. Any thoughts on local Brooklyn boys Parquet Courts? Love the vaguely sports related name. I am kind of digging them big time.

    That letter from the UConn president – defending the marketing of his university through a uniform (and vapid) graphic – reminds me that onceupona American university presidents were often figures of civic influence and high standards (and pomposity and racism, I know, I know). Can anyone name a university president today who makes a significant impact on national civil society? That UConn letter was so sad, so pathetic…

    I had the same thought. The closest I can come to answering your question is Larry Summers, which I think pretty well proves your point.

    Some of it is lack if quality in the office-holders, some of it is due to lack of tenure in the office. Father Hesburgh was president of Notre Dame for 35 years. I don’t think anyone will serve that long ever again, at any school.

    They Phillies are consistent in wearing their creams during the day. I haven’t seen them wear their pinstripes at home in a game before 6 since they started wearing them.

    Maybe the late start time has something to do with it (Do the Phils consider a 4:05 start a night game?)? Or teams playing in their first game at home during “Opening Week” can’t wear alt’s (per MLB?)?

    It is easy for those never affected by this hate speech to say they never thought of me & my kind. In a world where media-worthy events occur on a rez, in America every day but it isn’t covered, we aren’t on tv shows, a different race represents us on Thanksgiving in parades. Are you aware there is now a month dedicated to Native American History? It’s Nov. The same month we as Americans honor soldiers for all we have & Thanksgiving…we give thanks for what was originally taken from the NDN. Last year an opposing college team shouted across the court to a team with a native mascot about smallpox blankets.

    We are tired of this. We no longer care that they weren’t thinking about real American Indians. We no longer care that you are comfortable with the name REDSKINS. We are not.

    As pointed out, things have changed since this team was formed. This needs to change too! Why don’t we deserve it? The Houston Oilers became the Tenn Titans then the Houston Texans. Buy everything available & save it for future collectable value. Can you not look at this from my point of view & realize a name change does you no harm while it is a step towards my people feeling as we share the same benefits other Americans enjoy.

    When an actor on the alphabet network’s medical show used a slur during an off-screen arguement referencing his sexual preference…he was fired. We, the public, never had to know. Yet the network wanted all to know it would stand up for the ones less represented.

    American Indians are 1%. We are not gone. The 1% is the % that are AI on the census. The blood of native Americans runs thru many veins that can’t prove it, aren’t sure, weren’t raise that way.

    Please be respectful. If it hurt your Mom, you’d want it stopped.

    Not only are the Mets in their blue softball tops, apparently the Marlins don’t own gray tops at all (4 games, 4 black tops this year), so the game looks particularly heinous.

    @Phil: If I were a Marlins fan, it would kill me that they never wear their grays, which is their best look. Since I’m not a Marlins fan, I’m only moderately bothered by it.

    Color on color looks terrible. Would the NBA allow teams to come out with one team wearing blue tops, another black tops, and both in white shorts? We’d all laugh.

    I couldn’t figure out how to put the cedilla on my post.

    You could type your post in a word processing program, where it’s presumably easier to insert different characters. Then cut and paste. If you’re using an iPhone, it’s quite easy to add such characters by holding your contact with the touchscreen on the nearest English letter (the various alternate characters, with accents, tildes, umlauts, cedillas, etc. pop up for you to choose).

    My favorites for every team in a given city using the same colors are Minnesota’s and San Fran’s, especially the Shark of San Jose-it looks like the predator is on the prowl at night with a flash light beaming down on it, cool work.

    Bay Bridge Ins. doesn’t use the Warriors as a legal company face/logo. It’s just cause the local brokerage in Stockton CA support their local team and community.

    Listening to the start of Cubs v. Braves on WGN. Pat and Keith are on a quest to find out the official uniform regulation regarding socks for the umpires. They are looking for a sponsor for their quest.

    “If anything, the Mets shouldn’t wear their orange brimmed caps with the blue softball tops.”



    If you mean they should wear them only with the blue softball tops, that’s fine.

    If you mean they should wear only them with the blue softball tops, then no.

    during the orioles home opener today i noticed an inconsistency in the font being used for the no. 4 to honor Earl Weaver. the jersey patch and one painted on the field seem to be the same but there is some kind of metal memorial on the dugout that has a different font for the 4. here’s a link to the latter:

    J.mack: the dugout 4 matches the “statue” 4 on the plaza outside OPACY. There are metal “statue numbers” on the plaza for all six of the Orioles’ retired numbers (who happen to be their six HOFers): 4 (Weaver), 5 (B. Robinson), 8 (Ripken), 20 (F. Robinson), 22 (Palmer), and 33 (Murray).

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm in the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

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