Monday, February 1, 2010

Who dat say we can’t say dat?

Though my blog is usually focused on terrorism and international affairs, as a Cajun and native of Louisiana, I can’t let the current controversy pass without putting in my two-cents.

The National Football League (NFL) has recently displayed its latest greedy efforts at making more money from fans of the sport. The New Orleans Saints’ Cinderella story this year has brought many fair weather fans out of the woodwork as well as attracted new fans intent on riding the coattails of the team. All of this attention has more people than ever chanting the decades old Saints’ motto, Who Dat, as in who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints.

But this phrase is not just used for the Saints. This is how Cajuns in Louisiana actually talk. My grandfather, nicknamed Frenchy, used to say it all the time. Who dat over dere? It’s part of Cajun linguistics. How can a corporate giant, the NFL, try to copyright an everyday phrase used by so many people?

Saints fans, the real ones, the ones standing on the sideline or watching games at home Sunday after Sunday, win or lose, are the owners of that phrase. We have been using it regardless of their record. Now all of a sudden that the Saints are going to the Super Bowl and have gained thousands of new fans, the NFL sees dollar signs and wants to collect, because the billions of dollars it gets for everything else is just not enough. They have to get every red cent, even in this time of economic turmoil, when they should be thankful they still have people willing to buy NFL gear, pay for NFL television packages, and buy tickets to games.

I don’t remember the NFL trying to copyright the old name for the Saints, the Ain’ts, when they were losing. That’s because it wasn’t a money-maker. If it were, you better believe some NFL lawyer would have tried to copyright it. Why can’t fans just be left alone to enjoy their team’s success without having to worry that some greedy Daddy Warbucks is going to come along and ask, who dat not gonna pay up?

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