The League

THE QUESTION

Who owns 'Who Dat'?

Do team slogans belong to the fans or are they NFL property?

Posted by Emil Steiner on January 28, 2010 8:15 AM
FEATURED COMMENTS

aussiebones: I remember saying "Who Dat"? when I first saw my Aunt Bertha in 1953. Pretty sure that's when it began to become a catch phrase. ...

tommyhy: It's from an old Charlie Chan movie (1930's). The driver Birmingham Brown, says it after an echo; "Who-dat say who-dat, when I say who dat"...

novawolverine: "Who dat?" is being confused with "Who day?" with regards to the NFL. The fans come up with all kinds of slogans and phrases. In fact, the...

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (21)

ALL COMMENTS (21)
fmjk Author Profile Page :

The NFL may have rights in the team names and logos, but slogans that bubble up from the fans are not protected property of the NFL. Could the NFL claim it owned "who let the dogs out?" several years ago when the Ravens latched on to that song? Of course not. People cannot register phrases that are already part of the public domain as their own trademarks, and "who dat?" is as old as the hills. Next thing you know, they'll want to charge us to yell "De-FENSE!"

fbutler1 Author Profile Page :

As a matter of fact, the first time I remember hearing "Who dat(, who der?)" was in "The Waterboy", which was based on a fictional football player, played by Adam Sandler, who lived in South Central Louisiana (most probably what New Orleans Saints' fans are alluding to). I'm positive that it was said prior to that movie, especially in the South. The NFL has no right to claim that as property of any kind.

MillPond2 Author Profile Page :

Well said, FMJK.

I could understand the NFL legally pursuing action against tee shirt vendors who claimed to be selling NFL sanctioned apparel, but the current situation is ridiculous and abusive.

The NFL, in their pursuit of greed have taken the great story of restoration of optimism and pride of the beleaguered people of New Orleans, and turned it into a version of "A Christmas Carol" without the redeeming finale.

FredinVicksburg Author Profile Page :

The phrase, "Who Dat," has been around a long time, I think long enough to be in the public domain. It is not something that can be copyrighted (unless the orgininator is still alive and can prove ownership), and most certainly is not owned by the NFL.

fr3dmars Author Profile Page :

The Saints, and the NFL (big oops w/ regard to their current antitrust suit) MIGHT own "Who dat gonna beat those Saints", but Who dat? by itself is part of the local vernacular. Screw the money-grabbers - you can't trademark common parlance.

travisg2 Author Profile Page :

What is next...
Will the NFL now take ownership of all those signs that say ..."DEFENSE" and show a picket fence with a D in front of it?

A total lack of class Owners.

A total lack of class.

ethiessen Author Profile Page :

Apparently it was not the phrase itself but the gold fleur-d-lis as a background that the league says identifies the Saints...
Who dat itself goes back to the 1800s-before there was an NFL...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Dat%3F
Also from wiki:The NFL's action also provoked responses from U.S. Senator David Vitter and congressman Charlie Melancon of Louisiana, among others. Vitter sent a formal letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell criticizing the NFL's attempt to claim ownership of the chant, informing Goodell he would be printing t-shirts using the phrase, and daring the NFL to sue him.
In respose the NFL backed down:
http://www.wwl.com/NFL-responds-to--Who-Dat--controversy/6242243

NFL responds to "Who Dat" controversy

The National Football League has issued a response to Senator David Vitter's letter that he sent to the league Friday saying it is a misunderstanding

To view the NFL's letter, click the following link:

images.bimedia.net/documents/nflwhodat.pdf

Vitter issued the following response: “The Senator is pleased that the NFL is already coming off its original position. However, he is continuing to demand that the NFL drop any claim on the phrase Who Dat under any circumstances and will be sending a more detailed letter to the NFL Monday,” said Joel DiGrado, Sen. Vitter's spokesman.

sailmaker1943 Author Profile Page :

Anybody in the NFL who thinks they own the phrase "Who Dat?" obviously doesn't know anything about New Orleans or the people who live there. Let 'em try to enforce that idiot notion in a court in Louisiana! Who Dat, indeed! Louisiana is the home of the very last of the free people in America, and if you don't believe it, take a drive down to Franklin or Houma and announce on a street corner that no one can say "Who Dat?" without the approval of some damn yankee in the NFL who thinks he owns the phrase. Boudreau won't take it kindly at all.

newrussianguy Author Profile Page :

Doesn't anyone realize that "who dat?" is a racist expression that comes from an old black-faced minstrel show comedy routine making fun of black speech? The routine is about two people searching in the dark and they bump into each other:
Person 1- who dat?
Person 2 - who dat?
Person 1 - who dat say who dat when I say who dat?
(crowd breaks into uproarious laughter)

ceo1958 Author Profile Page :

The Bengals fans shout "Who Dey". A phrase developed by fans but the Bengals trademarked the name.

johntu Author Profile Page :

Who dat want to claim who dat
Be crazy as a daylight struck bat,
The league be so big,
It try to cash in over everybody's gig.
Who dat belongs to the fans
League can't bring about bans
On saying that is their hit
Say what you will big league
Saints fans gonna say WHO DAT
And far as what you wanna say,
Who Dat, we don't give a sh..

johntu Author Profile Page :

Who dat want to claim who dat
Be crazy as a daylight struck bat,
The league be so big,
It try to cash in over everybody's gig.
Who dat belongs to the fans
League can't bring about bans
On saying that is their hit
Say what you will big league
Saints fans gonna say WHO DAT
And far as what you wanna say,
Who Dat, we don't give a sh..

Kilruff Author Profile Page :

FYI..."Who dat" is actually a part of the "Jamaican Patois" dialect meaning "Who is that?". This has been in use for centuries in Jamaica and the Caribbean. "Who dat" is for the people and no one party can ever claim ownership of.

witchofwestghent Author Profile Page :

Whoever owns it, they should take it back. It makes people sound even more stupid than they already are.

cajungurl Author Profile Page :

a rule of thumb I think everyone could be reminded of...'just because you can, doesn't mean you should.'
great points brought up by all postings, but let's remember what this is ALL about - follow the money. nothin' more, nothin' less.
Finally, may the BEST team win!

elgropo1 Author Profile Page :

Everybody knows that Who Dat is a multimedia music/business website run by Nick Biondo out of New York. He's a powerhouse, so look out, NFL!

montana123 Author Profile Page :

"Who farted?"

I bet you somebody owns that slogan! Look out here come the lawyers! I see a patent infringement lawsuit coming!

rucks35 Author Profile Page :

I haven't studied trademark law, but I have studied most areas of law. One important principle is the principle of "use." This basically says that the proper owner of some item of property can be determined by its use. For example, in property law, the principle of adverse possession allows squatters to take possession of land through continuous and open use that is not challenged by the owner.

In this instance, it seems that the NFL's trademark claim is totally bogus. As a Saints fan and former New Orleans resident, I have no recollection of any licensed NFL merchandise featuring the "who dat" slogan. Almost all "who dat" memorabilia came from local vendors outside the stadium. This suggests very little use by the NFL and a blatant and ugly attempt to seek profits at all costs.

If the law is fair in any way, courts will recognize this as the pure and unadultered cash-grab that this is and allow Saints fans to enjoy a truly organic rallying cry.

PS- I hope the NFL loses American Needle too...

aussiebones Author Profile Page :

I remember saying "Who Dat"? when I first saw my Aunt Bertha in 1953. Pretty sure that's when it began to become a catch phrase.

tommyhy Author Profile Page :

It's from an old Charlie Chan movie (1930's). The driver Birmingham Brown, says it after an echo;
"Who-dat say who-dat, when I say who dat". It was funny so get over it.........

novawolverine Author Profile Page :

"Who dat?" is being confused with "Who day?" with regards to the NFL. The fans come up with all kinds of slogans and phrases. In fact, the fans in Cincinnati should be getting some of the commission on the souvenirs sold at the stadium with the phrase "Who day?" on them. Maybe the Saints' Fans should try to copyright their phrase before the NFL runs with their ideas and their money.

 
 
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