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Residents React to Washington Redskins Name Controversy

"I would be really hurt and upset [if the name changed],” said Hagerstown resident and Redskins fan Leisa Thomas. “They're the Redskins and that's what they should be called."

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The Washington Redskins name debate is getting more heated after a federal agency canceled the team's trademark, calling it “Disparaging of Native Americans.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revoked six federal trademarks owned by the team. It's a decision that has refueled an ongoing debate.

"I would be really hurt and upset [if the name changed],” said Hagerstown resident and Redskins fan Leisa Thomas. “They're the Redskins and that's what they should be called."

Complaints of racism have been filed against the Redskins since the team registered the name back in 1967.

"I feel like it's time to change the name. I realize it's racist,” said Yolanda Blanchard, a Hagerstown resident. 

But what exactly does this most recent ruling mean? If it stands, anyone would be allowed to use and sell Redskins merchandise.

"If you lose the ability to protect them there is no reason to have the licensee paying a royalty,” said Dan Bruton, a sports business professor at San Diego State University. “If everyone can do it, then everyone is going to do it. It's one strategy of putting a little dent in their pocket book at the end of the day."

However, the ruling does not mean that the Redskins have to change their name, and it is likely the team will not until the issue works its way through the courts.

In 1999 the trademark board reached a similar decision, but it was eventually overturned by an appeal.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed to keep the name and team attorneys plan to appeal the decision.

But if the ruling prevails, how will it impact the team's revenue? Because NFL teams split merchandise sales, the Redskins may not be significantly affected unless other teams or sponsors push for a name change.

"The only way it really begins to effect the bottom line of the Redskins is if major sponsors stood up or if potential stadium backers stood up and said, we won't be involved with this,” said Dan Kaplan of Sports Business Daily. “To date, that hasn't happened but we'll see with this decision if that changes."

To read the board's full statement about their decision, click here.

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