Monday, February 1, 2010

NFL Admits it Doesn't Own Who Dat

WWL TV New Orleans reports that the NFL concedes it does not own Who Dat, the battle cry associated with the New Orleans Saints. The station's source is Louisiana's state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.

I've written on this topic already. It's not just the NFL about whom I'm concerned. I don't think Steve Monistere should own the phrase Who Dat either.

Yes, he may own a trademark for Who Dat, Inc., the name he gave his company after recording the "Who Dat Say" song with Aaron Neville, but even he admits he didn't create the phrase. Nor was he the person who first used it as a sports cheer. It should remain in the public domain.

Anyway, this news from the NFL is not new. In my last post on the topic I had links to other stories about the organization conceding it didn't own the phrase and that it's a big misunderstanding. Caldwell says the NFL officials to whom he spoke today admit that the original cease and desist letters sent to local business owners were confusing.

The picture in this post is a scan of the poster from Paul Laurence Dunbar's 1898 libretto. But seriously, if that famous black poet were alive today, I'm sure he'd be honest enough to admit that he can't take credit for "Who dat" anymore than I could claim credit for first writing the words "Who is that?"

I've been dismayed by the number of people who seem to think "Who dat" is some kind of unusual phrase for which they must trace origin. It's sort of like pondering the birth of "fuggedaboutit" so you can declare a trademark owner.

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