The National Football League is demanding T-shirt makers stop selling shirts with the traditional cheer of New Orleans Saints fans, "Who dat?" The league says it has legal rights to the phrase. Several vendors and fans say the phrase has been around since long before the Saints' inception in 1966, so it belongs in the public domain. Is the NFL trying to capitalize on the Saints' first Super Bowl appearance at the expense of the team's loyal and long-suffering fans? (Watch a CNN report about the NFL's claim on "Who dat?")
Sorry. Business is business: The NFL has looked the other way for years, says Erin Geiger Smith in Business Insider, but now that the Saints are on top, Saints merchandise is big business. Call the league a party pooper, but if it wants to "look ridiculous to protect its brand," that's its right.
"Who Dat annoying New Orleans vendors? The NFL"
The NFL has no case: If the NFL presses the issue in court, it will lose, says David Cariello in The Washington Post. For the NFL to own "Who dat?" it would have had to be the first to use the phrase commercially or the first to register it. It wasn't — that distinction belongs to the Monistere brothers, Saints fans and owners of Who Dat Inc.
"Who don't? The NFL"
Either way, pursuing the case is bad business: Even if the NFL is right on the legal question, says Greg Cote in The Miami Herald, its "Who dat?" offensive is a public relations disaster. The league might stand to gain some money, but it is "needlessly and callously" alienating long-suffering Saints fans just as their team prepares for its first Super Bowl.
"Who Dat? It's the big, bad NFL, that's who"