The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for recorded remarks he made in private. They are pushing for the owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the team. They need 3/4ths of the owners to vote ‘yes’ in order for that to happen.
Now that the NBA has opened the ‘let’s vote an owner out of the league’ Pandora’s box, this seems like the perfect opportunity for the NFL to this as leverage to force Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change his team’s name.
Does the NFL have similar language in their bylaws to force Snyder out as owner?
For decades we have heard the debate on whether or not the Redskins should change their name. The NFL believes an owner has the right to name their team whatever they want. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell echoed this stance as recently as last month.
The Oneida Indian Nation, a federally recognized tribe, have been the most aggressive with their effort to force Snyder to remove the ‘Redskins’ name. They piggybacked the Clippers situation and released a statement comparing Sterling to Snyder. They believe Snyder shouldn’t be able to use a racial slur as a team name. They believe it ‘promotes bigotry.’
It is currently unknown if the NFL has the same ‘actions detrimental to the league’ owner clause in their bylaws as the NBA. If they have a similar clause, the NFL may wait until the imminent legal battle between the NBA and Sterling concludes, which could be tied up in the courts for years.
There is no quick and easy way the NFL could get Snyder to change the name. It may need to come from the government. The U.S. Trademark office recently deemed the ‘Redskins’ name as racist when they rejected a company for trying to trademark their pork rinds as ‘Redskins Hog Rinds’. If Snyder loses the trademark for ‘Washington Redskins’, anyone would be able to print and sell unauthorized gear with the name and logo. Not only would that hit Snyder in the wallet, but the league would also lose millions.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.