Reid on Redskins: 'Writing is on the wall'

Lauren Schneiderman

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday cheered a federal decision stripping the Washington Redskins of their trademark and urged the team's owner to end the use of the “racist” name.

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"Daniel Snyder says this is about tradition; I ask, what tradition? A tradition of racism is all that that name leaves in its wake. The writing is on the wall. It’s on the wall in giant blinking neon lights. The name will change, and justice will be done for the tribes in Nevada and across the nation who care so deeply about this issue."

Reid made the remarks from the Senate floor just a few minutes after the U.S. Patent Office said the NFL team could not trademark the name Redskins because they were "disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered."

If the cancellation goes into effect, the team would lose ownership of the symbol, meaning it could not block the "importation of infringing or counterfeit foreign goods."

Democrats on Capitol Hill have pressured the Redskins to change their name. Fifty Senate Democrats signed a letter last month urging the NFL to “take action to remove the racial slur from the name of one of its marquee franchises.”

"Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he’s forced to do the right thing and change the name," Reid said.

Reid credited Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) for the patent office decision. Cantwell, who formerly served as chairwoman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, had been spearheading efforts to get Snyder, the Redskins owner to drop the name.

Snyder has argued that he doesn't want to change the name of the team for financial reasons and has pushed back on arguments that the term is offensive.

Cantwell said the patent decision has put "a big dent in the business case that the NFL has made."

"This is not the end of this case but this is a landmark decision by the patent office," she said on the Senate floor.

— This story was updated at 11:28 p.m.