Sports


Everyone knows that soccer is a foreign invasion, but few people know exactly what is wrong with that. More than having to do with its origin, soccer is a European sport because it is all about death and despair. Americans would never invent a sport where the better you get the less you score. Even the way most games end, in sudden death, suggests something of an old-fashioned duel. How could anyone enjoy a game where so much energy results in so little advantage, and which typically ends with a penalty kick out, as if it is the audience that needs to be put out of its misery?

Stephen H. Webb, Soccer Is Ruining America, Wall Street Journal

If you’re a sports merchandise vendor and you’re sidling up to that line where you might be using a celebrity’s likeness without his permission, DO NOT send him a letter claiming that he is creating  “likelihood of confusion” with your products.

After O’Neal was traded to the Phoenix Suns in February 2008, he was dubbed by fans as “The Big Shaqtus.”

Soon thereafter, Mine O’Mine says defendant Michael Calmese with True Fan Logo Inc. registered shaqtus.com and began operating an online store selling items featuring “an animated character in the form of a cactus with the facial features of O’Neal wearing an orange basketball jersey bearing the name Phoenix Shaqtus and the number 32.”

In 2008 and 2009, ESPN ran a commercial that featured O’Neal running into a cactus “bearing O’Neal’s face in the Arizona desert.”

Calmese sent a letter to ESPN, claiming that the ads created a “likelihood of confusion” with his products, and offered to jointly develop an animated “Shaqtusclaus” clip for Christmas.

. . .

In December 2009, Mine O’Mine sent a letter to Calmese demanding that he stop using the Shaqtus mark to sell merchandise on his Web site, and to transfer the shaqtus.net and shaqtus.com domain names over to it.


Offering to team up for a Christmas special won’t help.

But, my favorite part is . . .

Calmese responded Jan. 4, 2010, claiming that O’Neal consented to his use of the Shaqtus mark when O’Neal agreed to take a picture with Calmese and autograph a T-shirt.

I am reminded of Monty Python’s brilliant How Not To Be Seen.