than 20 years, the traditional cheer of the New Orleans Saints fans has been “Who
Dat Say They Gonna Beat Dem Saints” (better known to most as “Who Dat”). Not
only have the fans passionately participated in this chant in the Superdome since
the 1980s, but the phrase has become a huge part of the culture of the city.
Saints are just one week away from making their first Super Bowl appearance in
the history of the franchise, it’s logical to assume that sales of team
merchandise have increased tremendously, namely those items that feature the famed phrase of “Who Dat.” But instead of cashing in, many t-shirt
companies are experiencing major setbacks, as the NFL says the shirts infringe
on a legal trademark that they own.
really owns “Who Dat?” The answer is still up in the air, but let’s break down the
Football League (NFL): The NFL claims ownership of “Who Dat” because they
believe the chant is directly related to New Orleans football, which would make
them the rightful owners. NFL reps have explained that they are not trying to
exclude all uses of “Who Dat,” but when it is used in combination with other
Saints trademarks, such as their fleur-de-lis logo and uniform designs. [msnbc]
- The Monistere Brothers: WhoDat
Inc., controlled by Sal and Steve Monistere, also claims rights to the
phrase. These brothers and longtime Saints fans claim that they own the
phrase, which was around before the team’s inception in 1966. The brothers
said their company has the only federal trademark for “Who Dat.”
- The City and People of New
Orleans: Many say it’s something that simply can’t be owned and believe “Who
Dat” belongs to the city and the people of New Orleans. Members of Louisiana’s
congressional delegation have even written to NFL Commissioner Roger
Goodell, urging the league to concede that “Who Dat” is in the
public domain. [msnbc]
question that remains here is the issue of timing. Why would the NFL take legal action
now, when the Saints and their fans are preparing for their first Super Bowl? Yet again, this answer is up in the air.
have voiced their chagrin through the radio, TV and all over the Web, and rightfully
so. But even this can’t put a damper on the fact that their team is one win
away from bringing home their first Super Bowl trophy. How about “dat,” NFL?