A footnote on the first page of a ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte of Maryland provides direction for how the parties in a lawsuit are to refer to Redskins.
“Pro Football’s team is popularly known as the Washington 'Redskins,' but the Court will refrain from using the team name unless reference is made to a direct quote where the name appears," says the footnote. "Pro Football’s team will be referred to hereafter simply as 'the Washington Team.'"
The team name has also been stricken from Messitte’s rulings and other court documents that mention the NFL team.
Messitte ordered this policy in connection with a lawsuit brought against the team by Barrett Green a former linebacker for the New York Giants. In that lawsuit, Green claimed that the team gave its players financial rewards for purposefully injuring opposing players. More specifically, in a report by The Washington Post, Green accused the Washington team’s tight end Robert Royal of purposefully injuring his knee during a game in 2004.
Messitte's courtroom policy is one of the latest stands against the team's name. It has now been almost a month since the U.S. Patent Office canceled the NFL team’s trademark calling it offensive and disparaging to Native Americans. On Sunday, in an interview with ABC’s This Week, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the name “ought to be changed.”
Messitte, who was born Washington, D.C., was appointed by President Clinton in 1993, to a seat vacated by Joseph C. Howard, Sr. When contacted for comment by the The Washington Post, he said he had no comment. “My footnote is what it is,” he told The Post.
The team has denied Green’s allegations, and according to the Wall Street Journal, a Redskins spokesman had no comment on the judge’s order.