Shane Morris isn’t entirely sure he’s not infringing on the Washington football team’s trademark rights, but he thinks the new online store selling paraphernalia for his Landover Racists team will still work out for the best.
Morris, a Nashville, Tenn.-based sports writer, started a website today selling T-shirts and a mug with the logo of his satirical creation. But instead of a Native American as the mascot, there’s a profile of man that looks eerily like Dan Snyder—-the Pigskins owner who has said he will “NEVER” change the team’s racist name. The slogan of the Landover Racists: “A Pretend Football Team…that is VERY racist.”
Snyder’s unwavering quest to keep the team’s name hit a new obstacle yesterday when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled the team’s federal trademark protections. The team has already said it would appeal the ruling and, during the appeals process, the team will retain its federal trademark of the name.
Morris says that since Snyder is a public figure and the logo is a parody of the original he should, legally speaking, be safe.
“If they do sue me, I’ll probably get publicity from it and make money,” he says.
Morris decided to start the website last night in the wake of the trademark news. He stayed up all night designing the website and shirts amd writing pithy copy for the online store. (He’s colorblind, so his girlfriend had to help him with some of the design work.) He launched the site today, and in the first two of hours of being in business, he sold 23 shirts and one mug. (He sold seven shirts during our 10-minute phone conversation alone.) The Alternative Apparel shirts cost $34.99 and the mugs go for $14.99
“Using someone in Dan Snyder’s likeness and putting the term ‘racist’ under it was the icing on the cake for me,” Morris says.
Morris is a Dallas Cowboys fan, so says he would have absolutely no qualms about wearing his new gear at a Pigskins game. And for the actual fans of the Washington football team that still support its name? Morris says he hopes they soon realize they are supporting a racist slur. Morris’ personal litmus test for determining if a word is racist is to put the term “half” in front of it and decide if it’s offensive. (“Half-cracker?” he asks. “Oh wow, that’s pretty racist.”)
“I would implore fans to look themselves deep in the mirror and ask themselves if they really want to support a team that is promoting a racial slur,” Morris says. As for his own site: “I’m not promoting a racist slur, I’m just promoting a racist.”
Photo courtesy of Shane Morris