February 3, 2010, - 4:21 pm
Every year, during Super Bowl week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are pulled off from their duties to work for National Football League billionaires, courtesy of you–the American taxpayer. (ICE agents also do this for the NCAA, Major League Baseball, etc.–during their big events.) I’ve written about this repeatedly in the past (including here and here and here). And sadly it keeps happening, including at this year’s Supe.
Illegal Aliens Laughing: This is Their Week in Miami
Even worse, the ICE agents are there to enforce NFL restrictions on free speech which, if challenged in court, wouldn’t hold water. In the past, for example, ICE agents roamed the streets before the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit, seizing t-shirts and sweatshirts from some poor shnook vendors, with sayings like, “Detroit Football” or “Super Football Week” emblazoned on them. (ICE Michigan/Ohio Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz a/k/a “Abu Moskowitz” spent tax dollars to make a special NFL ICE Super Bowl pin for the agents.) The NFL even works with ICE to publish a thick manual filled with phrases and words on shirts that deign them “forbidden” and subject to seizure. Oh, and lest you worry that your game tickets will go up in price, they will, but you–the American taxpayer–paid for this manual and the time spent on putting it together (a new manual with new cities’ and teams’ names and similar sounding names is compiled each year).
Sorry, but the NFL–which does not own the exclusive rights to the game of football or the use of the words “Super and “Detroit”–has no right to do this. The League has no legal trademark or legitimate property rights to these words. Still, uneducated, frightened, and mostly minority vendors are afraid of guys with guns and badges and willingly give up the merch, when they’re told that if they give it up, they won’t be arrested or prosecuted. It makes me sick because it’s complete thuggery.
The NFL recently obtained an order through the Florida Department of State for the rights to “Who Dat?” a slang term you can hear in virtually every Blaxploitation film, BET program, stupid Tyler Perry flick (redundant phrase), or Al Sharpton-Sean Vannity love fest. It means, “Who’s that?” And you can also hear it on the Cajun streets of New Orleans, where fans–both Black and White–of the New Orleans Saints, projected onto their beloved, forever-losing team . . . a team which is now miraculously in this weekend’s Super Bowl. So, in addition, to unconstitutionally restricting the free speech and commercial rights of vendors of t-shirts that say “New Orleans Football,” this week, ICE agents in Miami will be seizing “Who Dat” t-shirts. It’s funny how the mostly White guys atop the NFL now own the rights to a stupid slang saying for the ebonics crowd who can’t–and refuse–to speak English. And it’s really something that would never pass muster before the Supreme Court.
ICE’s PR machine claims that seizing the clothing loot will stop terrorists. It’s beyond hilarious, since ICE has never once investigated the clothing, which is usually made in someone’s basement or screenprinting shop to give someone some extra cash to survive in a tough economy. ICE usually either destroys the clothing or gives it to charity. And that’s the end of it. Never once has Hezbollah or HAMAS been caught selling at the Supe. It just doesn’t happen. And if it did, the NFL would probably want to get in on the action, rather than shut it down. Contrast this with the real Hezbollah and HAMAS clothing–counterfeit designer duds being sold every day at the Detroit area’s Gibraltar Trade Center by Palestinian Sunni and Lebanese Shi’ite Muslims. ICE looks the other way on that, but not the Superbowl street vendors. And the Department of Justice has never once pressed charges against a single vendor from whom ICE seized clothing at the Big Game. It’s a joke, and all the ICE agents know it.
Prime ICE NFL Police Seizure Material
I don’t blame the ICE street agents who are doing this. They’re not the thugs. It’s their bosses at the top who make them do this that are. The street agents are happy to get the perk of walking around Super Bowl venues and seeing the events going on. They’d rather be arresting illegal aliens and enforcing Customs laws. But increased paperwork and restrictions on arresting illegal aliens put forth by Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano a/k/a “The Lesbionic Woman,” now make that nearly impossible. Agents tell me they now have to fill out something like seven long tedious forms to arrest an illegal alien, and have approval from ICE headquarters in Washington first. You call that immigration enforcement? Only if you’re an idiot. And these guys aren’t. They don’t want to be known as “ICE . . . Taking T-shirts Since 2003.” They’re frustrated.
And we should be, too. Federal agents who should be spending their time investigating illegal aliens in our midst, marriage fraud rings, and those importing and exporting goods that finance terrorism are, instead, working this week for a private illegal monopoly without an anti-trust exemption–a monopoly that now thinks it can deem that it owns whichever words in the dictionary it chooses.
There’s nothing more unAmerican than that. And how ironic that it takes place at the most American of events . . . the Super Bowl.
Have fun at those Super Bowl parties, Miami ICE agents. But I know you won’t have fun taking some poor guy’s t-shirts, when he’s done nothing illegal to speak of. And I know you’re sorry that this is what you’ve been reduced to–the NFL’s Public/Private Seizure Team. The NFL makes “chop blocks” like this illegal on the field, yet off the field, it’s A-OK. It’s big government, Big Brother, and the speech police at their worst.
We all have a First Amendment to sustain. Not by using tax-paid federal agents to work against it. If the NFL truly thinks its trademarks are being violated, let the No Fun League hire its own trademark enforcement force, like every other company and private party has to do. This is not a taxpayer function and it certainly has nothing to do with a single mission of ICE.
America needs more ICE agents on the job, NOT more “Who Dat?” police.
Michigan/Ohio ICE SAIC Abu Moskowitz @ Superbowl 2006:
What Me Worry About Illegal Aliens?
Tags: Big Game, ICE, ICE agents, Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Miami, New Orleans, NFL, NFL Police Force, Supe, Super Bowl, Superbowl, Trademark Enforcement, Trademark Police, Who Dat Police, Who Dat?