The Independent: On the warpath over Redskins
"Opposition to President Obama isn't the only subject that has Washington mulling over thorny issues of race and bigotry. As the new American Football season hits its stride, the city's beloved team, The Redskins, is being taken to the Supreme Court over its allegedly-offensive name.

A group of Native Americans have filed a legal challenge against a trademark the club owns over "Redskins." They claim to find the term offensive and disparaging – and say it should not, therefore, be entitled to any form of commercial protection under US law. For a name to come before the nation's highest court may sound comically petty. Yet the case is quite the reverse. It pits the future of a billion-dollar sports franchise against the grievances of a people whose historic mistreatment represents a stain on the national conscience.

At its heart is an issue of semantics. Coined in an era before political correctness, many Native Americans find "redskin" insulting. Most dictionaries describe it as "offensive". In some quarters, the term is considered to be as unacceptable as the "N-word" for African-Americans. "It is the worst thing in the English language you can be called if you are a native person," Suzan Shown Harjo, a Native American writer who is lead plaintiff in the case, told reporters this week. "It is basically characterising a person by their skin. How wrong is that?""

Get the Story:
Native Americans go on the warpath and tackle the Redskins (The Independent 9/21)

Relevant Documents:
Petition for Certiorari

D.C. Circuit Decision:
Pro-Football v. Harjo (May 15, 2009)

Related Stories:
Column: 'Redskins' is the equivalent to N-word (9/18)
Column: Activists await last word on 'Redskins' (9/18)
Column: Activists await last word on 'Redskins' (9/18)
Column: Not all 'Indian' mascots are offensive (9/18)
Turtle Talk: Redskins has Supreme Court appeal (9/16)
BLT: Supreme Court asked to take on Redskins (9/15)
Opinion: A shameful day in America with 'Redskins' (05/20)
Court sides with 'Redskins' in trademark dispute (5/18)