Emil Guillermo Podcast: The Slants didn’t hurt Native American cause after all
The Washington Slants of the NFL? Could be the new name. Simon Tam likes the sports entendre.
Three years ago this month, Simon Tam won the right to call his rock band something that was considered a disparaging name, The Slants.
The Supreme Court affirmed unanimously that Tam could trademark and reappropriate the term legally. (AALDEF joined an amicus brief in support of The Slants.)
But it bothered Tam that some people actually thought fighting for his name would enable the Washington NFL team to continue using its name, which sounds like it could be redskin potatoes or peanuts but actually refers to human beings, Native Americans.
Tam stuck to his beliefs and fought the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which would have stripped him of his band’s name.
“The cure to hate speech is not censorship,” Tam said on my podcast back in 2017. This week, Tam was proven right when the marketplace, and not the government, prevailed over the Washington NFL team owners on the name. Fearing the loss of billions of dollars in marketing revenue, the team dropped the offensive name.
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page. The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.