Whether it was Sen. David Vitter’s entry into the apparel business or the Louisiana Democrat Party’s resolution to assault the NFL via a lawsuit with public funds, the league has now run up the white flag and capitulated to the Who Dat Nation. Per WWL:
BATON ROUGE, La. – Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says the NFL is conceding that it has no ownership rights to the fleur-de-lis or the popular New Orleans Saints phrase “Who Dat.”
Caldwell said Monday he had a conference call with the NFL’s general counsel to clarify recent cease-and-desist letters received by some T-shirt makers in the state that demanded they stop selling shirts with the traditional cheer of Saints fans.
Caldwell says the letters were confusing. But he says the NFL is only objecting to shirts that are marketed or presented as an official Saints or NFL product. So, those shirts that are black and gold and say “Who Dat” can be sold, he says, if they don’t purport to be Saints gear.
Caldwell was apparently told the same thing by the NFL that Vitter was in a letter on Friday – namely, that the league was only going after merchants who violated Saints trademarks having nothing to do with “Who Dat” displays or the fleur-de-lis logo. When Vitter was told that same line, his response was to declare victory…
Thank you for changing your position and correctly recognizing that the NFL has no trademark or other ownership rights to the term “Who Dat,” notwithstanding the silly “misunderstanding” and other language being used by the NFL to disguise its retreat.
Much of this defensive language – like the explanation that “it’s when Who Dat is used in conjunction with Saints marks that it’s a problem” – only serves to confirm that the NFL has no claim to the phrase in any way, shape or form. In those cases, of course, it’s the use of a truly NFL-created and registered mark (trademark) that’s the problem, having nothing at all to do with the coincident use of the term “Who Dat” on the merchandise in question.
And now that the Who Dats have won their birthright, there is little left to do but win the Super Bowl.