WASHINGTON, DC – The head of an Ohio American Indian group says a Supreme Court decision to strike down the disparagement clause in trademark law won’t affect efforts to get the Cleveland Indians to change their Chief Wahoo logo and nickname.
Philip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, says he does not think Monday’s court ruling will help teams like the Washington Redskins and Indians keep monikers that some find offensive.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said earlier this year that he wants the Indians to transition away from using the red-faced, smiling logo.
The ruling Monday is a win for an Asian-American rock band called the Slants and it gives a major boost to the Washington Redskins in their separate legal fight over the team name.
The justices said part of a law that bars the government from registering disparaging trademarks violates free speech rights.
The Slants tried to trademark the name in 2011, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the request on the ground that the name disparages Asians. A federal appeals court in Washington later said the law barring offensive trademarks is unconstitutional.
The Redskins made similar arguments after the trademark office canceled the team’s trademark in 2015.