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NFL notebook: Redskins’ trademark boosted by Supreme Court ruling

Sports Xchange

June 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal law that bans offensive trademark protection in a ruling that could benefit the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team’s controversial nickname.

The justices ruled the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights.

The law used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to prevent the NFL team from registering trademarks in and relating to the word “Redskins” and the logos used by the team was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“Holding that the registration of a trademark converts the mark into government speech would constitute a huge and dangerous extension of the government-speech doctrine, for other systems of government registration (such as copyright) could easily be characterized in the same way,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion for the court.

“The commercial market is well stocked with merchandise that disparages prominent figures and groups, and the line between commercial and non-commercial speech is not always clear, as this case illustrates. If affixing the commercial label permits the suppression of any speech that may lead to political or social ‘volatility,’ free speech would be endangered.”

–New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making a promotional tour in China, hopes to play an NFL game in the country before his career comes to an end.

Brady almost had a chance to play a preseason game in China in 2007, but the matchup against the Seattle Seahawks was ultimately canceled as the NFL chose to focus on the debut of regular-season games in London, which began later that season.

“My dream is to play a game here in China someday,” Brady said over the weekend, via ESPN. “We had an opportunity, I think, 10 years ago, and my team was going to play here, and unfortunately it didn’t work out. But one day I hope that there are many games here, and over the course of a year, because it’s such a great sport and because I love it so much, to bring that here and to bring the discipline and incredible strategy involved.”

Brady’s trip was part of a promotional tour for Under Armour. He posted a photo on Instagram of him throwing a football on the Great Wall, and also held up the Lombardi Trophy in another photo.

–Wide receiver Eric Decker officially signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, calling the union with the team a “perfect storm.”

Decker, 30, has owned a home in the Nashville area since 2012 with his wife, country music star Jesse James Decker.

The former New York Jets and Denver Broncos receiver agreed to terms with the Titans on Sunday night.

“It was kind of a perfect storm,” Decker told the team’s website. “You only get so many years to play this game, and I wanted to find the right fit. I wanted to come to a place where I can help out, and this is home. There were a lot of factors. This is a team on the rise, and I like the coaching staff, the GM, and the philosophy upstairs. I like the quarterback, the locker room and the mentality. When I talked to the GM and the coaches, finding out what they wanted out of me, what my role would be, Tennessee was the best opportunity.”

–Larry Grantham, a defensive standout on the New York Jets’ Super Bowl III championship team, died, the team announced Sunday night. He was 78.

Grantham played outside linebacker and was an original member of the New York Titans, who became the Jets in 1963 after three seasons. His 43 career takeaways remain a franchise record.

Grantham called the defensive signals in the Jets’ 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl in January 1969.

A funeral service for Grantham will be held Wednesday in his hometown of Crystal Springs, Miss.