Vitter tells NFL to drop position on Who Dat or sue him

Posted: 01/30/2010 by Lynn Dartez in 2011

January 29, 2010

Roger Goodell, Commissioner
National Football League
280 Park Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

I was stunned to learn recently that the NFL is taking the position that it
owns the exclusive trademark of the term “Who Dat” and has even threatened
legal action against some mom-and-pop merchants selling t-shirts using the
term.  I would urge you to drop this obnoxious and legally unsustainable
position and instead agree that “Who Dat” is in the public domain, giving
no one exclusive trademark rights.

This letter will also serve as formal legal notice that I am having
t-shirts printed that say “WHO DAT say we can’t print Who Dat!” for
widespread sale in commerce.  Please either drop your present ridiculous
position or sue me.

“Who Dat” was probably first heard in New Orleans minstrel shows well over
130 years ago.  Much more recently, but before it was used in connection
with the Saints, it was used as a rallying cry by St. Augustine High School
in New Orleans.  In the 1980s it was adopted by Saints fans in a completely
spontaneous way.  Only later did any legal persons, including the Saints
and the NFL, try to claim it through registration.

Perhaps more significant than this history, “Who Dat” has become part of
New Orleans and Louisiana popular culture.  For the NFL to try to claim
exclusive ownership of it would be like me registering and trying to claim
exclusive ownership of the terms “lagniappe” and “laissez les bons temps

Under Paul Tagliabue’s leadership, the NFL was an unbelievable partner in
helping us recover and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.  Thank you again.
We look forward to your dropping your “Who Dat” position so that this
partnership can continue without strain or blemish.

David Vitter
Junior Senator of Who Dat Nation


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