9/11, Intellectual Property, Sports, Trademarks

Sports Law, Spaw, Lorts: Johnny Football!!!

“There’s winners and there’s nothing else. I don’t give a sh*t what those pinkos over in Russia say. You want to be a loser you go live in Russia. I’m not a loser. I’m a winner. I’m an American. Who wants to be John Wayne? Who wants to grab a root and hang on? Who wants to get a mean on? Get a mean on son.”– Coach Hisler, Johnny Be Good.

All I could think about last Saturday, while Johnny Manziel was breaking down Alabama’s vaunted defense, was Johnny Be Good. It’s one of the worst movies of all time, and it starred the assistant principal from Breakfast Club as a football coach, the nerd from Breakfast Club as some kind of great football player, and Robert Downey Jr., who wasn’t even in Breakfast Club. The soundtrack had the eponymous Chuck Berry song redone by Judas Priest, and also included a track from Ted Nugent. There are cameos by Jim McMahon and Howard Cosell, and the whole enterprise comes off as an indictment of the 1980s as one wildly implausible football scene piggybacks on another. To be strained would be a slap on the wrist for credulity in some of these scenes. I mean, this film is a trainwreck in every meaningful way.

It’s probably my favorite movie ever.

Let’s talk sports….


Johnny Manziel vaulted out of relative obscurity last weekend, when his virtuoso performance against the Tide made America forget the nightmare that was the 2012 election. Manziel’s nickname, Johnny Football™, is now at the center of two of the biggest sinkholes of ingenuity this country has ever seen. Namely, intellectual property and amateur athletics.

This site has detailed previous efforts to monopolize dumb sh*t through our nation’s intellectual property laws. Now, Texas A&M is assisting Johnny Manziel’s family in trademarking Johnny Football™. Poor Johnny can’t profit off his wildly inventive nickname right now, of course. Because he’s an amateur. And any sullying of that badge of amateurism would be a heinous affront to the very idea of toiling away at something for little to no compensation. Johnny is legally obligated to play football solely and wholly for the love of the game.

Texas A&M, realizing the pickle poor Johnny is in, is trying to help him pop a squat on that trademark for now. So he can sell T-shirts after his amateurism expires or something. In an article detailing the scheme, Attorney Jay Granberry explains:

“It’s important to do so outsiders don’t profit or receive an unjust enrichment off of someone else’s name,” Granberry said. “More than that, Manziel can help protect his image this way, because you never know what someone else is going to do with it.”

Yeah, you never know what someone else is going to do with it. One day, your nickname represents the finest qualities of mankind. The next, your nickname is being used to sell Johnny Football™ c**k rings to children and the elderly. I mean, you never know what someone else is going to do with it.

But as to the fear that outsiders might profit or receive unjust enrichment on Johnny Football’s™ rightfully earned blood and sweat and creative nicknaming, don’t fear. The article goes on to explain exactly how this would never happen to young Johnny Football™:

A&M is capitalizing on Manziel’s early greatness in a big way. The university has ordered a glut of “No. 2” jerseys – albeit without his last name to avoid any NCAA violations – and the on-campus Barnes & Noble is scurrying to meet the demand.

Enrichment of the just kind, no doubt.


Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has sued Hanesbrands Inc. after he was dropped as a spokesman for Champion sportswear for tweeting, after Osama Bin Laden’s death, “I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style,” and, “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…” This intellectually courageous act was met with derision by Mendenhall’s Madison Avenue overlords, and so now his lawyers are suing. And they’re basing most of their legal argument on Charlie Sheen. Duh.

The gist of Mendenhall’s argument relies on similarly dumbsh*t things that Charlie Sheen said about 9/11. After he said these dumb things, he was hired to “act” in several Hanes commercials. And now, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Mendenhall’s attorneys see an opening:

“If HBI treated Mendenhall differently than other endorsers without a good reason to do so, this evidence would be relevant to show that HBI’s termination was unreasonable and arbitrary,” Mendenhall’s lawyers argue in a motion to compel production of documents.

Every outlandish thing Charlie Sheen does, much like a stone tossed gently into a pond, creates ripples that continue to journey outward ad infinitum.

But the Hollywood Reporter doesn’t even hint at what should be Mendenhall’s lawyers’ next move. They should seek to tear down the entire bullsh*t edifice that makes up the Hanes family of companies’ morality. Because as everyone who has had the misfortune of watching Hanes commercials in the past several years knows, they’ve employed a far more hideous and offensive spokesman for some time now. I’m, of course, talking about the greatest basketball player of all-time and aficionado of the Hitler ‘stache, Michael Jordan. Say what you will about 9/11 truthers, at least it’s an ethos. Hitler mustache fans, on the other hand, believe in nothing. Except despicable facial hair.

And in summation, Your Honor, Rashard Mendenhall should not be forced by Hanes to take the Mendenfall. *riotous clapping ensues*


* The CEO of Dallas’s professional soccer team has been accused of beating his wife in New York City. Reached for comment, Rihanna said, “I don’t even know who he is, but I already forgive him.”

* The charges against Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, for resisting arrest, were dropped after his attorney, Rusty Hardin, talked in a melodious drawl that won over all the hayseeds who swooned in the jury box.

* The domestic violence charge against Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has been moved to something called conditional dismissal. If P, then Q, where P=Cowboys victory and Q=dismissal.

Johnny Be Good [Wikipedia]
At A&M, freshman phenom Manziel is one and only ‘Johnny Football’ [Houston Chronicle]
Charlie Sheen Dragged into NFL Star’s Lawsuit Over Controversial Tweets [The Hollywood Reporter]

(hidden for your protection)

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