The Washington Redskins football team lost a key battle in court on Wednesday over their trademark registration, as a federal judge ruled to cancel the NFL team’s registration, stating that the logo might denigrate Native Americans.
This decision is a setback for the team’s ongoing legal and public relations battle that has taken course over the past year, but a win for Native American activists who oppose the logo, including five individuals who were faced with a lawsuit last summer, according to The Washington Post.
The cancellation will not officially take place until the team has exhausted all appeals in the Federal Courts.
The Redskins filed a lawsuit in August 2014 against five Native American activists after the group convinced a trademark agency to void the team’s registration earlier that summer, the Post reported.
The group of activists argued the name and logo was offensive to Native Americans. However, among other legal arguments the Redskins voiced in court, the team rebutted stating that many Native Americans actually loved the name. According to the Post, the team even referenced a 1977 Thanksgiving game that featured hundreds of Native Americans participating in the half time show.
That argument didn’t prove to be enough for the five individuals, who even organized protests outside stadiums where the team was playing and rallied support of Congress.
The team’s president Bruce Allen said they’re moving on to their next legal hurdle.
“I am surprised by the judge’s decision to prevent us from presenting our evidence in an open trial,” Allen said in a statement. “We look forward to winning on appeal after a fair and impartial review of the case. We are convinced that we will win because the facts and the law are on the side of our franchise that has proudly used the name Redskins for more than 80 years.”