Knucklehead Award Friday Part Nine
Our ninth winner is the University of Alabama. They get the award for the following.
In the solemn cathedral of college football devotion and instruction that is the Paul W. Bryant Museum here, a large painting dominates the main chamber. It is called ''The Sack,'' and it shows an encounter between a Notre Dame quarterback and a human locomotive in crimson and white.What an idiotic lawsuit. Mr. Moore is honoring the school's football tradition but some fools see dollar signs. The University of Alabama is our ninth Knucklehead of the day.
''I've never been hit like that before,'' the quarterback, Steve Beuerlein, said after his near-lethal sack by Cornelius Bennett in 1986, in the University of Alabama's first victory ever over his team.
Daniel A. Moore, who painted ''The Sack'' and scores of other renditions of signal moments in Alabama football history, said he felt something similar last year, when his fax machine began to spit out a lawsuit from the university.
Mr. Moore's paintings, reproduced in prints and on merchandise, violated the university's trademark rights, the suit said. It asked a federal judge to forbid him to, among other things, use the university's ''famous crimson and white color scheme.''
Athletes, sports leagues and universities around the nation have become increasingly aggressive in protecting what they say is their intellectual property, and their claims have met with a mixed response from judges and fans. But almost no one here thinks the suit against Mr. Moore is a good idea.
''This lawsuit is the equivalent of the Catholic Church suing Michelangelo for painting the Sistine Chapel,'' said Keith Dunnavant, an Alabama alumnus and the author of ''Coach: The Life of Paul 'Bear' Bryant.''
A university spokeswoman, Cathy Andreen, declined repeated requests for interviews with university officials and lawyers, on what she said was the advice of counsel.
James Glen Stovall, who taught journalism at the university for 25 years, said only one sort of person would support the suit.
''I can see why, if you're sitting in a roomful of lawyers, you might come to that conclusion,'' Mr. Stovall said. ''But no one outside of that room would say: 'Hey, that's a good idea. Let's sue Daniel Moore.' ''
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Labels: Knucklehead of the Day