The Washington National Football League Things re-lost their trademark protection Wednesday, which means that Danny Snyder is one day closer to resorting to the only crypto-legal argument for retaining his team’s nickname he has left.
“Because I’m me and you’re not and I never don’t get my own way so nyah nyah nyah.” Additional points for him holding his breath until everyone else turns purple.
The ruling doesn’t prohibit the Whatsis from continuing to use their logos and nickname because the judge in the case, Gerald Bruce Lee, said “Hey, that’s not my department.” And it isn’t. And that’s the key point here, even amidst the celebrations and consternations over the ruling.
The team was rebuked yet again in its diminishing defense of its name, but one should never underestimate Danny’s pure cussedness on the issue. That, after all, is the real motivating factor for him here – nobody tells Danny what to do.
The argument that the team would lose uncounted millions doesn’t hold weight, given the way we as a culture have become, to put it politely, logo whores. Put a logo on a thing, it moves. Put a new logo on a thing, and both the new thing and the old thing move. A new name is inconvenient but hardly insurmountable to future giblizillions.
New Orleans Pelicans, come on down.
And the arguments about offense to Native Americans have been made again and again, and a 454,912th restating of them doesn’t give them any persuasive power to the one guy who has the power to make the change.
And that guy hates the idea of being coerced into change. This is his new defense, and in truth it has always been his only defense.
I guess one could tart up his position by saying it is a property rights argument, but that’s for legal types whose main job is to take simple arguments and make them impenetrable. But it really is just, “That’s mine, and I decide what it is.”
It has long been the position of this squalid little corner of The Internets that Snyder would be moved to change if enough money or fellow-NFL-owner pressure was applied, and it remains so.
But the NFL’s list of business concerns and public calamities has swelled in recent years, and the matter of what shorthand name to give the Washingtons has receded in importance to the owners, if it has ever taken a prominent place on the agenda – which we doubt.
Owners understand and respect the divine right of kings, and if they have an opinion other than “Danny’s property, Danny’s will,” they are too protective of their own prerogatives to lecture him publicly on his.
That leaves money, and owners regard the matter of their own cash far more dearly than Danny’s penchant for leading with his face. Put another way, they’re not ready to bribe him to change his mind, and maybe in their most cynical moments they figure that the courts will lower the price of his eventual compliance.
Thus, today’s ruling may slightly ease the passage of modern-day realities into the world of the NFL, but the real moment comes when someone can put a dollar sign on Danny Snyder’s loss of face. The day he finally tires of “because I said so,” that is the day the Things will have a new nickname that passes legal and ethical muster.
Until then, today’s seemingly large courtroom victory for the growing list of opponents of the name isn’t quite either. Not yet, anyway.