WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is giving up the legal fight over the name of the Washington Redskins.
In a letter to a federal appeals court, the department said last week's Supreme Court decision in Matal v. Tam in favor of an Asian-American band calling itself the Slants means the NFL team will prevail in a legal battle to cancel the team's trademarks because the name is disparaging to Native Americans.
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"Consistent with Tam, the Court should reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Pro-Football," Mark Freeman, an attorney for the Justice Department's civil division, wrote to the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Redskins case had been on hold in the federal appeals court while the Slants decision was rendered. The Supreme Court found that Simon Tam could trademark the Slants as the name of his Asian-American rock band because it would be unconstitutional for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to discriminate against it, citing the First Amendment's free speech protection. The justices were unanimous in saying the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights.
Redskins' owner Dan Snyder said last week he was "thrilled" by the Supreme Court's ruling, and lawyer Lisa Blatt said it resolves the team's dispute and vindicated its position. Snyder has refused to change the name despite intense public pressure, saying in the past that the name "represents honor, respect and pride" for Native Americans (see full story).
Packers: Police say Guion stumbled, slurred speech
HONOLULU -- Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Letroy Guion smelled of alcohol and marijuana, stumbled when he walked and spoke with slurred speech when police pulled him over in a Porsche in Hawaii, according to arrest records obtained by The Associated Press Thursday.
His blood alcohol level was O.086 percent about an hour after his early morning June 21 arrest for intoxicated driving in Waikiki, according to a police report.
'"Please sir, it's my birthday,'" he told an officer, according to the records. '"I can have someone else drive.'"
Guion was pulled over while driving a white 2017 Porsche Cayenne because he was drifting between lanes, the report said.
'"I know I'm drunk,'" he told the officer in the records. '"I've been drinking Hennessy all night. I don't drink any of that weak stuff, only the hard stuff'" (see full story).
NFL: Refs roster includes 1st female replay official
The roster of NFL rules arbiters this season will include eight rookies on the field and the league's first female instant replay official in the booth, Terri Valenti.
Valenti has worked on instant replay for the NFL for the past five years, prior to her promotion. Each of the 17 crews has an instant replay official. The league announced the assignments on Thursday, with all 17 referees returning to their lead roles for 2017.
Valenti has previously served as an on-field official for high school, college, minor league and international league games. The instant replay official determines when the game should be stopped for reviews after scoring plays, turnovers and the two-minute warnings, and throughout overtime.
The instant replay official is the go-between for the on-field referee and the NFL's centralized operations in New York, where final decisions on reviews are made. The authority shift from field to office was approved by league owners in March .
The head linesman position was also renamed down judge to more accurately depict the responsibility of ensuring correct down and distance and eliminate the gender-based description.
The eight first-timers among the 124 on-field officials all previously worked for major college football conferences: line judge Brian Bolinger (Big Ten), line judge Mike Carr (Big Ten), side judge Ryan Dickson (Pac-12), down judge David Oliver (SEC), field judge Mearl Robinson (Pac-12), field judge Brad Rogers (SEC), line judge Danny Short (ACC) and umpire Steve Woods (Big Ten).
Five officials were unassigned to a crew. They'll rotate throughout the season along with some of the assigned crew members, the NFL said, to seek league-wide consistency (see full story).