What’s in a name? SGI rejects ‘ASSMAN’ last name license plate
Published Monday, February 11, 2019 3:44PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:45AM CST
Three months ago, a Melville man ordered a personalized license plate bearing his last name.
But to David Assman’s surprise, the request was rejected by SGI.
“It reads ‘ASSMAN’ instead of ‘OSSMAN’,” Assman said.
‘Assman’ originates from a German surname, but the pronunciation doesn’t match up with its English translation.
Assman takes pride in his last name, and even has a customized Rider jersey with his name on the back.
SGI, however, says his last name is an ‘unacceptable slogan’.
“How did they say that, ‘inappropriate and might hurt somebody’s feelings if they see it.” Assman said. “I think it’s foolish that they would consider it being profanity because there’s lots of names out there that they deem unworthy.”
‘ASSMAN’ isn’t the only personalized plate SGI has stopped from appearing on Saskatchewan roads. The insurer has prohibited over 3500 slogans and names from being put on license plate.
“Personalized license plates are fun, but nobody needs to have one, and there are a number of terms that are not allowed on license plates, and some of them may also be somebody’s last name,” said Tyler McMurchy with SGI. “Out of context, it might not be apparent that that’s somebody’s last name. People might not understand that that’s what it is.”
Assman’s nephew Mitchell shares the same surname. He says SGI’s reasoning doesn’t represent Canadian values.
“We’re a diverse country, and everyone has their own way and we kind of accept everyone for who they are, so don’t criticize him,” Mitchell told CTV News.
If the name sounds familiar, Dick Assman became a local legend when he appeared on David Letterman.
Dick is David’s third cousin, and the family is once again making international headlines over the lack of a last name license plate.
“It’s not hurting any of our feelings, we’re finding it kind of funny that people are getting so upset about it,” David said.
Assman does have the option to appeal SGI’s decision by appearing before a review board, but he hasn’t yet decided if that’s the direction he wants to go.
Instead, Assman says he’d like to see a policy put in place so others with similar last names won’t face similar situations.
Based on a report by CTV Yorkton's Alessandra Carneiro