In today’s sports legal lesson news, the United States Olympic Committee has warned the organizers of the Redneck Olympics that they must change their event’s name or they will be subject to a lawsuit. The USOC, thanks to our friends in Congress, holds the rights to any use of the word Olympics, including variations like Olympians, Olympiad, and, presumably, Olympia Dukakis.
But the folks behind this year’s Redneck Olympics in Maine are saying, “Heck naw,” claiming that since the Olympics have been around for thousands of years, they have every right to use the term. Guess how that’s going to work out for them.
“We have no interest in being the big bad guy that comes in and ruins everyone’s fun, [but] it’s important for us to protect this intellectual property,” Mark Jones, a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, told the Law Blog. “If someone calls themselves the Olympic Dry Cleaners or calls their sporting organization the Olympians – anything like that, those rights are ours.” (Via The Wall Street Journal)
OK, that’s pretty F-ed up, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the law. The WSJ also points out that in 1982 the Gay Olympics went through the same ordeal and they changed their name to the Gay Games. Even the Laff-A-Lympics went off the air in 1979, one year after the law was passed. Coincidence? Snagglepuss and Jabberjaw think not. The Special Olympics are the only exemption from this law, and there’s a big difference between differently-abled and redneck. OK, maybe it’s not that big of a difference.
Now I’m no big city slicker lawyer, I’m just a simple folk puttin’ mah overalls on one rolled up leg at a time. But iffn’ them fellas down there in East Dublin, Georgia can host their Redneck Games each summer, then I’m sure we can all help the South rise again, just under a different name, I reckon. It ain’t worth fightin’ with them Yankee white collar carpet baggers to ruin our fixins. Just think of all of the redneckitty goodness we’d be missin’ out on…