Posted: Jan 29, 2010 1:19 PM by Kelly Spell
Updated: Jan 29, 2010 4:38 PM
Rep. Charlie Melancon and U.S. Sen. David Vitter joined fans of the New Orleans Saints in expressing outrage over a claim by the NFL that it owns the phrase "Who Dat."
The NFL has been sending cease and desist letters to local stores selling Saints t-shirts and other memorabilia with the slogan. The letters say "any combination of design elements (even if not the subject of a federal or state trademark registration), such as team colors, roman numerals and other references to the Saints" are also trademark violations.
Rep. Melancon started an online petition asking the NFL to leave fans alone.
Sen. Vitter sent a terse letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying "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."
Vitter continued, saying, "'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."
Thousands of fans have expressed outrage on social networking web sites like Facebook and Twitter.