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Story Archives: Who owns 'Who Dat?'
|Who owns 'Who Dat?'|
Something funny happened on the way to the Super Bowl, "Who Dat?", became "Who Gonna Make Dat Money?"
As you might have heard, the National Football League has staked a claim on "Who Dat?", a derivative of the more refined "Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Saints?", and has fired off cease-and-desist letters to some Louisiana merchants who are selling items with the popular New Orleans Saints fans cheer. Even the fleur-de-lis is in question, according to the NFL, if it can be linked to the Saints the on anything from T-shirts to tattoos.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claims he is protecting vendors who have contracted with the league to sell Saints merchandise. That might be somewhat believable if he cared who was selling "Who Dat" back when the Saints were losing.
It's really all about money the NFL thinks it should be pocketing now that the Saints are headed to the Super Bowl and "Who Dat" is flying off shelves faster that Mardi Gras beads hurled at the Hooters staff from a Krewe of Bacchus float. You notice the NFL never tried to claim brown paper bags as an official trademark.
In keeping with a tradition that makes you proud to be from Louisiana, it didn't take long for politicians to weigh in on the controversy-de-jour.
The first was Sen. David Vitter, who wrote is own missive in response to the NFL letters arriving in mom-and-pop merchants mailboxes. Vitter's letter to Goodell, which he signs "David Vitter, Junior Senator of Who Dat Nation" is both amusing and to the point.
In it, Vitter informs the NFL, that the letter is "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."Vitter goes on to educate the NFL or more about the history of "Who Dat" than an its healthy for anyone to know, especially hard-core who dats who might have consumed to many adult beverages before half-time.
"'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," Vitter writes.
Not to be outdone by Vitter, the man who plans to challenge the Who Dat Nation's junior senator for his seat has entered the fray. La Rep. Charlie Melancon, D- Napoleonville, has started an online petition to get the NFL to drop its copyright claim to "Who Dat?"
"No one owns "WHO DAT" except for Who Dat Nation," Melancon wrote on his Web site.
"For all of us long-time Saints fans, it's doubly frustrating to see the NFL swoop in just as soon as our team breaks out into the national spotlight."
There are those outside the NFL who also say "Who Dat?" belongs to them. Brothers Sal and Steve Monistere, owners of WhoDat Inc., who produced the song "Who Dat Say They Gonna Beat Dem Saints" with the late Aaron Neville and several Saints players in the 1980s, say they have the only federal trademark for "Who Dat?" The brothers believe they own "Who Dat?" and are willing to fight the NFL to prove it.
The only thing the NFL and the Monistere brother aren't considering is who dat going to be disappointed by thinking that people in Louisiana are going to listen to them and surrender "Who Dat?" to anyone who wants to claim it for their own? Dey are, dats who.