A tale of two cities – Washington and Bucharest – and two trademark battles
It’s big news when a storied sports franchise loses its identity. And that’s what’s happened with a prominent professional football team in its nation’s capital, a team with which you’re all doubtless familiar: No, not the Washington, D.C. NFL team, but Steaua (“Star”) Bucharest, the most successful football (or what a small minority of the world refers to as “soccer”) team in Romanian history.
Or should I refer to the team formerly known as “Steaua Bucharest”? More on that below.
You might have thought that I was talking about the Washington, D.C. NFL team with the controversial name. Not today. In fact, the team has just won an indirect victory at the FCC (and trust me, this year the team can use any victory it can get its hands on): the Media Bureau’s Audio Division has dismissed several petitions to deny the license renewals of stations that mentioned the team’s name on the air. The decision is relatively short and sweet and totally right on the money: however offensive the name may be to however many people, there is no basis in the FCC’s rules (or any other law, for that matter) to deny a station’s license because of its use of racial or ethnic epithets. Indeed, as my colleague Steve Lovelady pointed out when the petitions were first filed, the FCC itself has expressly taken that consideration off the table. So stations can continue to play “Hail to the Redskins” without fearing for their next renewal.
All is not so copacetic in Bucharest, however.Continue Reading...