Friday, January 29, 2010

The Who Dat Nation Says Fiddle-Dee-Dee, Among Other Things

And you thought it was all about football and team spirit and the coming-true of grandiose dreams. Wrong! It's about the NFL capitalizing on every penny imaginable, even if that means sending "Cease and Desist" letters to mom-and-pop businesses trying to make a buck off of long-standing tradition.

From today's news accounts, however, the Who Dats are NOT going quietly into that good legal theorem. They're standing up, still accepting orders online, and taking ownership of this piece of southeast Louisiana heritage (I know this because I ordered a cute tee shirt that says "Supa*BEAUXL" from yesterday afternoon!) . Let's just watch the Commish issue a warning for me to forsake my Who Dat gear. You can wrench my cute Who Dat tee-shirts from my cold, dead fingers!

One of our Senators has weighed in on the skirmish (in all fairness, however, I must admit that he's the Senator who's running for re-election and must be just soaking up all this free publicity!) I got this email a few minutes ago:

January 29, 2010

Roger Goodell, Commissioner
National Football League
280 Park Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

I was stunned to learn recently that the NFL is taking the position that it owns the exclusive trademark of the term "Who Dat" and has even threatened legal action against some mom-and-pop merchants selling t-shirts using the term. I would urge you to drop this obnoxious and legally unsustainable position and instead agree that "Who Dat" is in the public domain, giving no one exclusive trademark rights.

This letter will also serve as formal legal notice that I am having t-shirts printed that say "WHO DAT say we can't print Who Dat!" for widespread sale in commerce. Please either drop your present ridiculous position or sue me.

"Who Dat" was probably first heard in New Orleans minstrel shows well over 130 years ago. Much more recently, but before it was used in connection with the Saints, it was used as a rallying cry by St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. In the 1980s it was adopted by Saints fans in a completely spontaneous way. Only later did any legal persons, including the Saints and the NFL, try to claim it through registration.

Perhaps more significant than this history, "Who Dat" has become part of New Orleans and Louisiana popular culture. For the NFL to try to claim exclusive ownership of it would be like me registering and trying to claim exclusive ownership of the terms "lagniappe" and "laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Under Paul Tagliabue's leadership, the NFL was an unbelievable partner in helping us recover and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Thank you again. We look forward to your dropping your "Who Dat" position so that this partnership can continue without strain or blemish.

David Vitter
Junior Senator of Who Dat Nation

I kinda like one new shirt that says, "Who could it be that asserts it will prevail in its upcoming sporting contest over the New Orleans professional football team?" on the front and "Take Dat!" on the back. Heh.

It's a strange, strange world.

UPDATE: The NFL has seen the light! Dat's right!


  1. Moogie! Heh! Did Vitter really send that letter to Goodell? Interestingly, I am not on David Vitter's e-mail list...and I am on Katrina Mary's. I know where Vitter stands on things. I just subscribed to Mary's for the Nyuks.

    I know that this has got to be a HOT topic. I did a "Who Dat" post the other day. I have had several visits from blog searches for "Who Dat Plastic Cups," and other "Who Dat" merchandise.

    Big doings in the Big Easy for sure.

    If the NFL owns "Who Dat," well maybe they own "One for the thumb" from the old Terry Bradshaw/Pittsburgh Steelers days...or maybe they own "Who let the dogs out?," too. This is cuhhhhhraaaaaazeee.

  2. Oooops! Moogie, I guess I am on David Vitter's e-mail list. I just got the same e-mail from his office...naw, it was forwarded to me by my brother-in-law.

    He's a Saint's fan, and trying to rake up signatures, I guess.

    I'm gonna go and sign up for David's e-mail alerts. Ya' know (and I'm serious here), a few years back I sent an e-mail to Vitter about something...don't remember what. But, I got a response from a different e-mail account with his name. It was a personal one (I think it was an @yahoo address). It was from David least I'm pretty sure it was. It was not a "canned" response. He addressed several things specifically that I had brought up. It was like he had actually taken the time to go through my e-mail, and respond point by point as to how he planned to act on certain measures.

    It was a looooong e-mail. (kinda like this comment)

    Heck, I could have just been somebody in his office doing it on his behalf. But, I really believe that it was David. It "sounded" like him. Regardless, if it was a staffer, he's got some good ones. It wasn't too long after that when the whoring news came out. That long, well-thought response of his helped me look at him in a different light when the fit hit the shan.

    Allright, I'll quit. Geaux Saints!!!

  3. "Senior management" in ALL pro sports generally sucks (even in the NHL - imagine that!) but the NFL seems more tone deaf than most. At least the NFL had the good sense to back down on something they never should have started in the first place.