Chiefs, Redskins offensive as team names? Some say yes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The federal patent and trademark office is refusing to register a trademark for the term "Redskins" because the agency claims the word is offensive and derogatory. Some are now saying the same argument could be made about use of the word "Chiefs."

The feds said "no" after a company that sells pork rinds wanted to trademark the phrase "Redskins Pork Rinds."

A law professor at George Washington University claims the ruling may lead to additional efforts by the federal government to pressure the Washington Redskins football team into changing its name and logo.

The trademark office could revoke several trademarks previously granted to the NFL team.

Leaders at the Heart of America Indian Center are applauding the federal action and say the Kansas City Chiefs may need to re-evaluate their situation because cultural norms are changing.

"I hear that all the time," said Moses Brings Plenty, cultural liaison at the Indian center. "Someone won't know me by my name or they won't call me as an individual, they would say, 'Hey, chief.' We hear that all the time. It's sad because it's degrading to our real true chiefs that are still existing today."

Brings Plenty believes the Chiefs should reconsider the use of Native American stereotypes at team events.

"What I see with Warpaint, what I see with artificial headdresses, what I see with the tomahawk chop and what I see with an American Indian drum that was just recently purchased. Made by a non-native. We have native individuals who could make drums."

There's also a campaign by the Federal Communications Commission to require broadcasters to refrain from saying the word "Redskins" on the air, particularly during daytime hours. Former FCC commissioners have been lobbying to have the term declared "indecent."

Brings Plenty agrees the word is a racial slur, the most derogatory term a Native American can be called.

A spokesman for the Kansas City Chiefs declined to comment on this issue.
Many agree that the word "Chiefs" does not carry the same negative stigma as "Redskins."

And some say the origin of Kansas City's football team name is not connected to Native Americans, but rather a tribute to Kansas City's mayor at the time the team came here. H. Roe Bartle was known as "The Chief."

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  • Big (@bdiddy28117)

    Wow, this is getting way out of hand. What happened to ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’?

    Why does everything offend someone and why does the government think they should control it? These terms have been used for years/decades and now we have people offended by them. Even if the meaning is different, it offends people. geez!!

  • Joe

    The term Redskins is derogatory to Native Americans the same way the “N” word is derogatory to the African Americans. Chiefs is not a derogatory term. People really need to educate themselves and if they still don’t understand, either go to a sensitivity class or get a lobotomy.

  • Kim Moseley

    Someone has to much time on there hands so after all these years now it’s a problem get a life. Are you gonna make every high school in America change there team names and mascots as well. Dumbest thing I ever heard. There are more problems in this world that needs attention besides a couple of NFL Team names maybe you should tackle them.

    • Terry

      Kim, if you were informed on the subject, you would know that Moses Brings Plenty tackles many issues concerning our world. He lives he breathes educating the public about issues close to his heart. He is greatly loved my many, many people. You are incredibly ignorant.

  • Maggie Columbia

    The term is not “just” becoming offensive ………it always has been. Just like the attitude that it is acceptable to dig up the Ancestors in the name of history and anthropology. All that is being asked is a sensitivity to a culture and very wonderful group of people whose Ancestors were terribly wronged. If the real history was taught to all I feel there would not be these remarks against Moses Brings Plenty’s efforts.

  • Z

    the ignorance of America never ceases to amaze me. The amount of horror the Native Indians have had to face and still face far out weights any ignorant comment left on this page. Educate yourselves. The ignorant fear change, but in the end it is the ignorant who are left behind as you can’t stop change.

  • Brownzilla

    …there is a bit of ignorance going on here so…get educated.

    During the entire history of America until the turn of the Twentieth century, Indigenous Americans were hunted, killed, and forcibly removed from their lands by European settlers.[13] This includes the paying of bounties beginning in the colonial period with, for example, a proclamation against the Penobscot Indians in 1755 issued by King George II of Great Britain, known commonly as the Phips Proclamation.[14][15] The proclamation orders, “His Majesty’s subjects to Embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and Destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians.” The colonial government paid 50 pounds for scalps of males over 12 years, 25 pounds for scalps of women over 12, and 20 pounds for scalps of boys and girls under 12. Twenty-five British pounds sterling in 1755, worth around $9,000 today —a small fortune in those days when an English teacher earned 60 pounds a year.[14] Since the proclamation itself does not use the word, citing it as the origin of “redskin” as another word for scalp has also been called “revisionist history”.[16] However, an historical association between the use of “redskin” and the paying of bounties can be made. In 1863, a Winona, MN newspaper, the Daily Republican, printed among other announcements: “The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.” [17]”

    hmmmmmmm…And some say the origin of Kansas City’s football team name is not connected to Native Americans, but rather a tribute to Kansas City’s mayor at the time the team came here. H. Roe Bartle was known as “The Chief.” ….so why the giant arrowhead? Really stretching the ‘justification here guys…think.

  • Jess

    I remember this issue being debated (although with much less publicity) when I was in high school here in KS over 15 yrs ago. I am a registered American Indian and have never received a payout nor lived on tribal land. The point of changing the team names is not to rob fans of cherished traditions. The point is to continue our nation’s journey of cultural sensitivity. I am sure that even the most devout football fan would pause before imitating the apparel of Hasidic Jews and cheering on a team called the Rabbais. The principle is the same, but non-Indian Americans have lived with these caricatures for so long that they have become blind to the insult.

  • Colleen

    I like the American Indian names for high schools which are named after the city they’re in. I can under stand both sides. I am from American Indian heritage. I take it as a memory of the American Indians.

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