The saying has long been: “Don’t Mess with Texas, ” but the same could apply to New Orleans Saints fans. In the last week, the Exxon-Mobil of sports merchandising, the National Football League challenged “Who Dat Nation” with copyright infringement, and like the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings, they came to New Orleans and got their asses kicked.
The NFL monopoly machine would make old man Rockefeller blush, but nonetheless, the ministry of merchandising decided to take on two mom and pop t-shirt shops who were marketing “Who Dat” shirts with either team colors or the requisite fleur-de-lis. The two shops, Fleurty Girl and Storyville, were surprised to find that the NFL claims copyright over a phrase used for over a century in New Orleans. I mean, does the NFL hold copyright over the Patriots’ red, white and blue? If so, someone should contact America’s flag makers. And less face it, the fleur-de-lis has been a presence in New Orleans centuries before the formerly hapless Saints were added to the NFL roster.
Saints fans are outraged and both U.S. senators, David Vitter and Mary Landrieu have flexed their legislative muscles and in the process, have found something to agree upon. As a result the NFL has backed off, while still holding that anything bearing “Who Dat,” team colors, and the fleur-de-lis, marketed in the name of the Saints are a violation.
For the time being, sales continue, and I suspect they will through the Super Bowl. However, New Orleanians have a long memory, especially for those who have done them wrong, and Vitter is trying to extinguish the memory of his liaisons with prostitutes in New Orleans and Washington, DC; both will be dogged in making this right for the home team.
As is usual during Super Bowl week; there is always a game within the game. So enjoy.