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Bears play Redskins as controversy rages over Washington team name

WASHINGTON–The Bears play the Redskins today with the Chicago team at FedEx Field as controversy builds over whether the Washington team name is a racial slur.

The simmering debate started to heat up earlier this month when President Barack Obama, in an interview with the Associated Press, said he would “think about changing” the Washington Redskins’ name if he owned the team.

At half time during the Washington/Dallas game last Sunday, sportscaster Bob Costas in a commentary said it was time to change the name.

“Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group,” Costas said.

“When considered that way, ‘Redskins’ can’t possibly honor a heritage, or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent,” he said.

Costas further explained himself in a column HERE.

A bill in Congress–introduced last March–would ban trademark protection to the term “Redskin” if used in commerce. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is one of the co-sponsors of the “Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013.”

Thomas.gov.Summary of Legislation:

3/20/2013–Introduced.

Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013 – Amends the Trademark Act of 1946 to conclusively presume that a mark that uses the term “redskin” or any derivation of that term consists of matter which may disparage persons if: (1) it has been, is, or is intended to be used in commerce in connection with references to or images of Native Americans; or (2) the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Director) determines that the term as included in the mark is commonly understood to refer to Native Americans. (The possibility that a mark disparages persons is grounds for refusing its registration.)

Requires the Director to cancel the registration of a mark containing the term “redskin” or any derivation of that term if: (1) it has been or is used in commerce in connection with references to or images of Native Americans, or (2) the Director determines that the term as included in the mark is commonly understood to refer to Native Americans.