Washington Commanders face suit from 'Hogs' members over possible mascot announcement
WASHINGTON - The Hogs, made up of iconic players like Joe Jacoby, Mark May and honorary member John Riggins, are on the verge of suing Dan Snyder and the Washington Commanders.
The Hogs are threatening legal action against the team and Dan Snyder ahead of this weekend’s big mascot reveal. The original Hogs, the most notorious offensive line in NFL history, had their heyday in the ’80s and 90s. They say the Commanders are now trying to profit off their legacy – so they’re threatening to take the team to court.
"They can’t call themselves the Hogs any more than my clients can say they want to call themselves the Commanders," said attorney for the Hogs, Seth Berenzweig.
He says the team is using the brand they built more than 40 years ago for commercial purposes with no compensation.
"Through all their blood and sweat equity that they spent on and off the football field they wanted to protect their intellectual property," said Berenzweig.
The threat of legal action stems from the anticipated announcement of the Commanders' new mascot this weekend. For months, the options have been between a dog and a hog, and it’s becoming more clear that the latter is the likely choice.
"It appears the Washington Commanders will have a celebration on Sunday to release what we believe will be Teddy the Hog," Berenzweig said. "We believe that’s our trademark and if wasn’t very valuable then they wouldn’t be having this huge ceremony."
Even the Hogettes, a group of die-hard fans from the team’s past, tweeted their return to FedEx Field for the first time in more than a decade.
"It’ll be special for the guys to come back together and one last time to honor the Hogs, it’s their day," said Dan Hines.
Despite the excitement to honor the team, the attorney for the Hogs told FOX5 they’ve tried to resolve the dispute over the trademark for months.
"We’ve tried to negotiate a license, we’ve been at this for two months and we’ve gotten nowhere," said Berenzweig.
In a statement to FOX5, the Commanders say they have no plans to impede on the Hogs' trademark attempts or capitalize on them financially.
"We are planning a celebration of the greatest offensive line ever to play the game. The HOGS are a key part of our franchise’s history and we want to keep their legacy alive with the next generation of fans. We have been working with the Hogs on this event for six months and look forward to welcoming them and Coach Gibbs back," said a spokesperson for the team.
The attorney for the Hogs said they filed a federal trademark for the name this summer and they believe that will be issued in 2023. If they are awarded that trademark and can’t come to an agreement with the Commanders they could file a federal trademark infringement lawsuit.