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US sports teams face shake up for names that could be deemed racist

17/11/2009
Kicking racism out of sport has long been the aim of every governing body throughout the world and with signs of change starting to appear the drive to purge American sports of their derogatory American Indian nicknames has increased.

The effort to rid professional and amateur US sports teams of their potentially offensive mascots and nicknames has done much to rid many sports of a subtle yet nonetheless potent form of racism. Recent events, however, have thrown a proverbial spanner in the works as the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal challenging the trademark of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

Many native groups are opposed to the name on the grounds it promotes negative stereotypes regarding American Indians, something the groups are trying to completely remove from US sports. The American Indians’ general counsel John Dosset commented that: "We do a lot of Supreme Court cases, and they decline a lot of them. The case isn't over." The dispute over the appeal hinges on the length of time after the Redskins’ original trademark was filed, with the court ruling that the opposition had waited too long after it was granted to file a complaint.

The rare victory for the Redskins was tainted though as the Supreme Court’s rejection only hinges on the timing of the appeal and not whether the name “Redskins” is actually offensive or not, which, consequently has been agreed that it is. The group may have been unsuccessful in this appeal but they were keen to stress that they are still winning the fight to rid US sports of an anti-American Indian sentiments.
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