Update (2:33 p.m.): In a statement obtained by Pro Football Talk, the Washington Redskins denied that Aris Mardirossian's decision to register the "Washington Bravehearts" nickname is connected to a potential name change for the franchise. Furthermore, the team claims that Snyder and Mardirossian do not even know each other.
“There is no connection between the trademark and the Washington Redskins,” the statement said. ”Dan Snyder does not know the man that was reported in the story.”
As the public outcry over the Washington Redskins’ polarizing team name continues, a newly registered trademark suggests that team owner Dan Snyder may be considering a name change.
Aris Mardirossian, a patent investor, applied to secure a trademark for the name “Washington Bravehearts” on Oct. 17, TMZ reports. The application probably would not have drawn much attention — except for the fact that Mardirossian lives “a few doors down” from Snyder’s home in Potomac, Md.
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Furthermore, Mardirossian’s trademark application reportedly noted that he intends to use the “Washington Bravehearts” name for “entertainment in the nature of football games,” TMZ reports. In addition, Mardirossian founded a company called Washington Brave Hearts LLC on Oct. 17, the same day he filed the trademark application for the nickname.
To a large extent, the veracity of the report on the name change would hinge on whether Snyder and Mardirossian actually have a business relationship. In addition to being neighbors, TMZ notes that both men attended the University of Maryland, though the went to the school at different times.
Snyder and Mardirossian have teamed up before, albeit in connection with a much more mundane situation, TMZ notes. The neighbors reportedly sought to cut down trees near their homes, but ended up in a battle with county officials.
Still, a name change would be a significant departure from Snyder’s previous stance on the issue of the Redskins name. The billionaire previously defended it in an open letter to fans.
"Our franchise has a great history, tradition and legacy representing our proud alumni and literally tens of millions of loyal fans worldwide," Snyder wrote, according to CNN. "We are proud of our team and the passion of our loyal fans. Our fans sing 'Hail to the Redskins' in celebration at every Redskins game. They speak proudly of 'Redskins Nation' in honor of a sports team they love."
Neither Snyder nor Mardirossian chose to comment on the Washington Bravehearts trademark or the rumored Redskins name change, TMZ reports. In fact, Mardirossian reportedly hung up when contacted by the website.