Simon Moya-Smith: NFL team must eliminate racist mascot too

A sign at the Lancaster School Board meeting. March 16, 2015. Photo by Danny Spewak / WGRZ / Twitter

Simon Moya-Smith urges the Washington NFL team to join public schools and get rid of its racist mascot:
Many have made the argument that Native Americans like me are trampling on the First Amendment when we call for the Washington football team to change its name.

Even the ACLU has chimed in on the matter. On March 6, the organization said in a blog it does not support the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's decision to cancel federal trademark protection of the Washington football team's use of the word "redskins." In June of last year, the USPTO had repealed six of the team's seven trademarks, finding the r-word is "disparaging to Native Americans."

Although the ACLU agrees the team name is "offensive and perpetuates racism against Native Americans," it cannot support what it refers to as language policing. "... Because the First Amendment protects against government interference in private speech," staff attorney Esha Bhandari wrote. "It isn't government's role to pick and choose which viewpoints are acceptable and which are not."

Here's the thing, folks -- no one has a First Amendment right to federal trademark protection.

Tara Houska, a tribal rights attorney in Washington, said, "Freedom of speech is a fundamental right. In contrast, federal trademark protection is a privilege that one applies for at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office."

I think the ACLU is confusing rights with privileges.

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