The League

Les Carpenter
Staff Writer

Les Carpenter

Yahoo! Sports reporter and former NFL writer for The Washington Post.

NFL is the villain

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It's easy to hate the NFL here because this has all the elements of a big, bad corporation, armed with a team of lawyers trying to crush someone little who was trying to have fun. Such is the shameful reality of sports today. This time the villain is the NFL. But the NCAA and most major college marketing departments are equally as vicious, if not more so, in slashing at anything they perceive to be a challenge to their protected images.

In some ways, as unpopular as their stands may seem, the leagues have a point. They do have to protect their logos. But as corporate entities always do, they have reached too far. There are too many exclusive deals for hats and uniforms. Far too much funneled through the leagues' own marketing arm. Big time sports has become a corporate playground where only a select few are invited to sit on the swings.

The Who Dat case might be the biggest reach of all. It isn't as if these small manufacturers in New Orleans are trying to make money off the word "Saints." They are selling a culture, an emotion, a sense of place. Yes, "Who Dat" is a slogan most linked to the local football team, but it's also a phrase that sums up for the rest of a country a Cajun dialect that is foreign to us. And who could possibly claim the fleur-de-lis as their own? It's the symbol of all of Louisiana.

There is no harm to the Saints name and trademark with a few fitted "Who Dat" ladies T-shirts. Fleur-de-lis or not. The NFL and its lawyers should sit this one out.

By Les Carpenter  |  January 29, 2010; 5:29 PM ET  | Category:  New Orleans Saints , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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I think the big bad NFL bit off more than they could chew on this one. This will be a PR nightmare for them. And trust me, we wont back down. If we could stand up to Katrina we can deal with a card like Roger Goodell.

WHO DAT!

Posted by: RobertM320 | January 29, 2010 8:06 PM

They're starting to back down now, and as well they should! They only flamed the fire that has been raging in this town since the Vikings game and gave the Who Dat Nation a place to put all that emotion. Lots of new t-shirts are being made with the "Who Dat" phrase and NONE of them are complimentary to the NFL, lol.

Posted by: Captain_Sassy | January 29, 2010 11:05 PM

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