When the NFL's Washington franchise announced this week that it will officially retire its "Redskins" logo and nickname ahead of the 2020 season, reports indicated that pending trademark issues were the only holdup to the team also unveiling its new identity. Now, one man who's been perceived as an obstacle to Washington finalizing a new name has insisted he wants the club to re-brand, saying he's offered to help the team and NFL do so, while also revealing the four most viable replacement names for 2020.
Philip Martin McCaulay, 61, a Virginia-based actuary, is a noted "trademark squatter" who's registered trademarks for countless team nicknames over the years, including his beloved Washington. The Washington Post suggested in 2015 that McCaulay was hoping to score a "bounty" from team owner Daniel Snyder in the event of the "Redskins" name being replaced. But McCaulay himself has attempted to clarify his stance in recent days, taking to Twitter to declare he won't stand in the way of Washington finally responding to public pressure by replacing its polarizing Native-American imagery.
"I wish they would tell me what I need to do to get out of their way to change the name if I am some obstacle," McCaulay wrote. "I want them to change the name and am embarrassed if I did anything that slows that down. I thought if I hoarded all the good names that would keep someone else who might be a pain in the neck from getting them."
McCaulay said he emailed NFL trademark attorneys on July 4, days after Washington announced it would kick off a "thorough review" of its nickname, "with the intention of facilitating a name change by the season opener in September 2020." In doing so, he added, McCaulay openly offered to give the NFL its requested nickname trademark "for free."
McCaulay said neither the NFL nor Washington has yet to contact him and believes "10 days of offering ... for free is enough," noting he'll now wait to "entertain any offer they want to make." But he made it clear that his attempts at negotiation are merely to make the renaming process more efficient.
"Any trademark attorney would get them canceled to clear the way for the Washington team to use them," he said. "I just thought my way of cooperating might be easier than litigation."
As far as which nicknames are actually tied up in McCaulay's name, the Alexandria native said, "there are really only four viable options if this is going to be done before starting the 2020 season." Those names are the Americans, Red Tails, Renegades and RedHawks -- all names that McCaulay has trademarked for both apparel and football games, which Washington would presumably want for the season.
The Warriors have also been suggested as a finalist for Washington's new name, but McCaulay said he has reason to believe Snyder doesn't want that, despite reportedly pursuing it for a former Arena Football League franchise.
"I do not own a trademark for Washington Warriors," he explained. "I applied in 2015 and it was suspended. Mr. Snyder does not want it, because he could have registered a trademark for Warriors in 2020, but he abandoned on purpose by not responding to USPTO letters asking if he still wanted it."
As for the Redwolves -- another suggested name?
"Mr. Snyder has enough money to buy the trademark for Redwolves from Arkansas State," McCaulay said, "but they are a public university with a board of trustees and any decision like that would require months of public meetings and a lot of different opinions on what to charge and how to use the (money) ... I have a trademark for 'Washington Football Club' that would be a good temporary name in the meantime."