When the U.S. Patent office cancelled the Washington Redskins' trademark registration Wednesday, saying the longtime nickname insults Native Americans, the Redskins said they would fight the federal ruling against the team's controversial name and logo. The ruling does not mean that the Washington Redskins will have to change its name, but it could at some point impact the team's bottom line and the control they have over their merchandise, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.
On the practice field, the Washington Redskins tried to stay out of the controversy over the name and logo they were wearing.
"That's way over my head man. I can't comment on that," Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
"Our job as players is to focus on this field day in and day out and let the legal people take care of that stuff," he said.
Yet the government's decision to cancel the Redskins' trademark rocked the sports world and sent Washington fans into a frenzy of speculation.
When asked whether this is the beginning of the end for the name of the football team, former player LaVar Arrington said, "I mean you would have to assume so."
Or maybe not.
It's rare for the government to cancel a trademark because a group finds it derogatory-- and the Redskins have fought this battle before.
The trademark office made a similar ruling against the team 15 years ago. The organization appealed and won.
A team attorney predicted the same outcome this time, saying, "We are confident we will prevail once again."
That legal battle could take years and even if the team eventually lost, trademark law experts say it has other legal avenues to keep people from selling unlicensed merchandise.
"I would not take this as a green light to go out there and start printing fake Redskins jerseys and selling them," trademark attorney Howard Hogan said.
However, the ruling is likely to increase pressure on the team politically.
In Congress, 50 senators have signed a letter urging the Redskins to find another name.
Arrington said the ruling could signal a name change is inevitable.
"If it were to change I would totally understand why and the fanbase would understand why. I think it might take a little bit of time for some diehards to get over the change, but I think it's such a strong fanbase that it would adjust," Arrington said.