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Great news for football fans, free speech warriors, and 90 percent of Native Americans: Due to a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Trump administration has ended Obama’s silly attack on the Washington Redskins.
The Justice Department sent a letter to a federal appeals court Wednesday afternoon conceding that a Supreme Court decision last week in favor of an Asian-American band calling itself “The Slants” means that the NFL’s Redskins will prevail in the battle over efforts to cancel the team’s trademarks on the grounds that the name is disparaging to Native Americans.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Matal v. Tam [the Slants’ case] controls the disposition of this case,” Justice Department Civil Division attorney Mark Freeman wrote in the letter to the Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. “Consistent with Tam, the Court should reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Pro-Football.”
The Supreme Court and the DOJ made the correct decision here. The Obama administration was using the courts to shut down free speech under the pretext of political correctness. While a few native groups opposed the team’s name, the vast majority were fine with it. The Washington Post conducted a poll of Native Americans in 2016 and nine in 10 declared that the name wasn’t offensive. When the Post first did the survey in 2004, the results were the same.
Last year, the very white Washington Post asked Chippewa and Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation resident Barbara Bruce to explain her thoughtcrime. “I’m proud of being Native American and of the Redskins,” she said. “I’m not ashamed of that at all. I like that name.”
Gabriel Nez, a 29-year-old Navajo who recently left the Navajo Nation for school in New Mexico, agreed. “I really don’t mind it. I like it,” he said. “We call other natives ‘skins,’ too.”
These opinions prevail in Indian communities across the country. For instance, the mascot for Red Mesa High School, located in the Four Corners area of the Navajo Nation, is, you guessed it, the Redskins. There’s also the Browning High School Indians, located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation; the Mescalero Apache High/Middle School Chiefs in New Mexico; and the Marty Indian High School Braves in South Dakota. There are many, many more where those mascots came from.
Even though a mere 9 percent of Native Americans want Washington’s NFL team to change its name, 28 percent of Washington-area residents do. These readers have decided to be offended on behalf of other people, even as the people they are “protecting” are saying to knock it off. The vast majority of Native Americans understand that the team’s logo stands for bravery, honor, and strength, so they laugh off the white elites’ calls for outrage.
The Washington Post wasted a decade trying to make “Redskins” a hate crime. Thankfully for the NFL team — and the proud high schoolers in Red Mesa, AZ — common sense and the First Amendment triumphed.