A federal appeals court just sank a coup de grace through a 17-year-old lawsuit claiming the Redskins logo is offensive. Naturally, the judges left unanswered the question of whether the logo is, in fact, offensive.
Here's how the Associated Press puts it:
The decision issued Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington doesn't address the main question of racism at the center of the case. Instead, it upholds the lower court's decision in favor of the football team on a legal technicality.
The court agreed that the seven Native Americans waited too long to challenge the trademark first issued in 1967.
The ruling here is that the activists had slept too long on their rights — that there is, in effect, a statute of limitations on outrage, which seems a little off, but since there's a lacy French word for this whole doctrine (laches), I'll assume that smarter people than I have thought this through.
There's apparently a similar lawsuit waiting in the wings that would neatly sidestep this laches question. This means we're in for another decade of earnest handwringing over a logo that I think most of us can agree is painfully stupid, though relatively palatable in a world that still countenances Wahoo and demands the return of Chief Naperville. I cry a single tear.