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How a trademark squatter could actually speed up Washington's name change

How a trademark squatter could actually speed up Washington's name change

For $225 and five minutes of your time, you can become the owner of a trademark for a potential team name of a sports franchise. That is, if you get there first. 

Martin McCaulay, a realtor from Alexandria, VA has consistently beat others to the punch on certain trademarks, especially for potential name changes for the Washington football franchise. As of July 13, he owns the rights to several names including:

Washington Red Wolves
Washington Redtails
Washington Monuments
Washington War Hogs
Washington Veterans
Washington Freedom Fighters
Washington Radskins

Some may view McCaulay as a villain in Washington's name change saga, slowing down the process by demanding payment for his trademarks. This is not the case, however, as he explained to The Sports Junkies on Monday. 

"I sent the [NFL's] trademark attorneys an email on July 4," McCaulay said. "I told them, 'Here's a list of all my trademarks, if this will help you get the name changed you can use these for free.' They did not answer.

"I never expected to make any money, I'm not an idiot," he said. "I get roasted a lot, 'Look at this idiot, he never got a trademark attorney, he doesn't know what he's doing.' Every time reporters asked me, I say, 'No I'm not interested in making any money, I think this is funny.'"

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McCaulay has wanted Washington to change its name for a long time and knows how difficult the trademark game works. So he'd rather act as a facilitator, which could help the team get everything changed before the 2020 season begins. 

"I'm just trying to get them to change the name," he said. "I think I'm kind of in a position to make that happen because if they're trying to make the change in two months, they don't have a lot of choices. If there's a name where I've got a trademark for both athletic equipment and football games then they're set, they're good to go.

"So why would they not pick one of mine and they're good to go in two months?" he said. "If they pick one that somebody's already got, somebody besides me, they're going to get into negotiations that are going to take months and I don't think they can do it in time."

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Washington would not be required to contact McCaulay until three months after they decide which name to use, granted it would have to be one of his names. Once they did, he'd simply give it to them. 

Based on his knowledge of the trademark landscape surrounding potential names for Washington, McCauley believes Red Wolves is the likely choice. He holds the "Washington Red Wolves" trademark, but Arkansas State University holds the rights to "Red Wolves." If the one thing holding up Dan Snyder from renaming his team is a trademark dispute, Red Wolves is McCaulay's guess. 

"If they want Red Wolves, then somebody's going to have to contact the board of trustees at Arkansas State," he said. "[It could take months] and I don't know how they're going to keep that private either."

Think of Snyder and his fellow advisors as someone choosing a movie to go see. They want to pick the right movie, make sure they can make it on time and ensure everyone going with them is all in. McCaulay is the guy saving them a seat at almost every theater, willing to get up at any moment so Washington doesn't have to wait for a later showing. 

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Adrian Peterson willing to play 'three to four more' seasons to break Emmitt Smith's rushing record

Adrian Peterson willing to play 'three to four more' seasons to break Emmitt Smith's rushing record

As Washington running back Adrian Peterson enters his 14th NFL season, he sits just 4,139 yards away from Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing yards mark of 18,355.

For Peterson, who has put together one of the best careers at the position ever and currently ranks fifth on the list, surpassing Smith has been something he's chased since he first stepped foot in the league in 2007.

‘Obviously that’s one of my goals that I set for myself when I entered into the NFL was to be able to pass the GOAT," Peterson said on NFL Network's Good Morning Football.

Now just over 4,000 yards away, the goal is in Peterson's sights. But the 35-year old veteran is not only trying to catch Smith, but outlast "Father Time" as well. Though the 2012 MVP has shown no signs of slowing down over the past two seasons in Washington, the yardage total he needs equals about four more grueling seasons of football that would push him near the age of 40.

As challenging as that may be, Peterson expects to get there. He's already explained that he wants to play four more seasons, and though his body will call the shots, he's feeling healthy and fresh entering the 2020 campaign. 

“My body is feeling good. I look forward to playing a couple more years, three to four more years, who knows," Peterson said. "Depends on how my body is feeling, because it talks to me.”

He also didn't realize that he was only 4,139 yards from the record. To him, that makes the task even more plausible.

“I didn’t know it was that close. 4,000, that sounds a lot better than 6,000 or 5,000," Peterson said. "We’ll see what happens, I’ll put my best foot forward to reach it I promise you that.”

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While passing Smith is surely something Peterson will take note of as he continues to suit up each Sunday, his desire to continue playing the sport doesn't come from personal achievements.

Throughout his illustrious career, he's consistently collected personal accolades that demonstrate just how successful he's been. But, one thing that has eluded Peterson is team achievements. In 13 seasons, he's still yet to reach a Super Bowl. As he continues to show age is just a number, it's the ring that he really wants. Smith's rushing record would just be the icing on the cake.

“That’s not really my ultimate goal, it’s one of my top goals," Peterson said. "Win a championship is the one that I’m chasing the most.”

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Making a case for a DC-themed name for the Washington Football Team

Making a case for a DC-themed name for the Washington Football Team

It's been several weeks since the Washington Football Team announced it was retiring its former name and logo after more than 80 years. Ever since FedEx became the first known sponsor to formally ask Washington to change its name, fans have taken to social media to voice some of their favorites among potential replacements. I spoke with several marketing experts about a few of the fan-generated names, and will use their responses to make a case for some of the most popular suggestions. This is the case for a DC-themed name.

Case for: Washington, D.C.

If there was one sentiment most common amongst the marketing experts interviewed for this project, it was that the Washington Football Team’s best option for a new name is something related to the city the team plays in.

This opinion wasn’t specific to Washington, D.C., as the experts cited other sports teams with great brands related to the city they represent, but the experts did cite the unique opportunities D.C. provides for a brand.

“The general rule of thumb for sports franchise branding is to tap into the elements of a city, a geography, a people that is highly relevant, highly aligned with how people in that area identify themselves,” said Whitney Wagoner, director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at University of Oregon. “The Pittsburgh Steelers are called the Pittsburgh Steelers for a reason. And that identity, that industry, working class, blue collar, hard hat kind’ve imagery really speaks emotionally to people in that city. And that is the strength of that connection, and that’s the strength of that brand. So, in general, you want to find things that really best represent the culture and the people and the uniqueness of that city, of that region.

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“And so what are those things in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area about people from there? What is to be from there? And the more you can align and tap into those things, conventional wisdom says the stronger that connection, the better the fan base connection will be.”

If done correctly, the Washington Football Team should be able strengthen an already loyal fan base by picking a name based on its city. Tapping into the region is a way to not only pacify some of the fans upset about a name change, but also gain new fans in the people who were not so fond of the previous brand. Doing it correctly, however, will take time, which is why it was wise for the team to temporarily change its name to Washington Football Team for this upcoming season.

Fans have tossed around names like the Senators, Generals and Monuments, but the marketing experts don’t like any of those to win people over. The Washington Senators already existed as the city’s Major League Baseball team until the franchise relocated in 1961. The Washington Generals still exist, but as the frequent lovable losers to the Harlem Globetrotters. And the Monuments, according to RedPeg Marketing CEO Brad Nierenberg, don’t have much energy.

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“They’re not gonna be a name that is gonna create energy,” Nierenberg said. “That passion, it doesn’t evoke the type of emotion that a fan base is gonna be rallying around.”

Tim Derdenger, associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, said a name like the Monuments would become a running joke. But according to his research, if the right name does exist for the team to connect its brand to the city, that is the direction the team should go.

“I did some analysis of that,” Derdenger said, “and what I’ve found is that teams that actually have a connection -- the team brand and name that has a connection to the local environment -- has actually stronger brand equity, higher brand equity.”

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If Washington opts to go in this direction, it wouldn’t be the first professional sports team in the region to do so, and by all accounts, the others have built pretty successful brands. The Washington Capitals struggled for many years after their inception in the mid-1970’s but became a successful brand even before winning their first Stanley Cup title in 2018. Same can be said for the Washington Nationals, who broke through for their first World Series title a year later. Winning obviously helps strengthen a brand, but how that brand sustains through losing is a better judge of how good it is.

Thanks to its location, Washington can create that very type of brand by appealing to more than just people in DMV area. Playing in the capital of the United States also allows the team to build a brand around a name that represents the entire country.

“I think that would be one of their strongest brand elements for them to bring forward,” said Keith Scully, CEO of Strategic-Noise Group and a graduate adjunct professor at Georgetown and American universities. “I think it would be accepted better as well, both on those current customers that they have as well as a nation.

“Taking a look at the Americans, something like that. Something that’s wholesome, and it’s Washington, D.C. How do you go ahead and develop an emotion that goes along with the country. I think they’re in the only place in the United States that can do it. Why not try it?”

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