Native American Group Says It Will File $9 Billion Lawsuit Against Cleveland Indians

The Washington Redskins isn’t the only professional team name possibly on the chopping block. CBS Cleveland reports a Native American group is filing a $9 billion lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians over the Chief Wahoo logo.

Robert Roche, a Chiricahua Apache and director of the American Indian Education Center, said he plans to file a federal lawsuit against the team in late July alleging the team name and mascot are racist. He plans to ask for $9 billion. (Related: US Patent Office Cancels ‘Redskins’ Trademark)

The Appeal Board for the U.S. Patent Office revoked the trademark for the Washington Redskins June 18. Roche said he hopes his lawsuit will yield similar results. The Redskins have appealed the ruling. (Related: 12 Trademarks Declared Less Offensive Than Redskins)

The Redskins won an appeal regarding a similar matter in 1999, but since then sentiments toward the use of Native American related mascots have changed, including voiced disdain about the Redskins moniker from President Barack Obama and 50 of 55 Senate Democrats. (Related: Reid Gloats Over Revoked Redskins Patent: ‘The Writing Is On The Wall’)

Bob Rosen, president of the Wahoo Club, said the name is only offensive to a small minority.

“I’m not insensitive to the issue, but our 1,650 members of the Wahoo Club, anytime we have a Wahoo Club item they but (sic) it up they love it,” Rosen said. “Can you imagine the baseball team in this city not being called the Cleveland Indians? I can’t picture that.”

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