Search the Site

Is the N.F.L. More Feared Than the U.S. Government?

That’s the question I’m asking myself today. I’ve spent the past couple of days in Washington D.C. for Book Expo America. My five-year-old son is a football fanatic, so whenever I’m in a town with an N.F.L. team, I try to bring home a souvenir for him. Today, I went to a huge souvenir store in D.C., with thousands of shirts, hats, keychains, etc. There was a great variety of very very cheap shirts and hats sporting the logos of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the President of the United States, Air Force One, etc. But there didn’t seem to be a single item of Washington Redskins paraphernalia. I asked at the counter and got a kind of fishy eye and then a brusque shake of the head. Which made me wonder: did the clerk think that, perhaps, I was from the N.F.L.’s licensing division and was trying to find out if she had any unlicensed Redskins stuff? It didn’t seem to make sense that the store wouldn’t carry any Redskins paraphernalia — they had everything else you could imagine, including shirts for the Washington Nationals and the Georgetown Hoyas. I know, I know, it’s baseball season and not football season, but still, the Nationals are a new and terrible team while the Redskins are a venerable and good team. And this didn’t look like a store that rotated its stock very often. So this made me think: is it possible that stores like this (and/or their suppliers) are not afraid of selling knockoff U.S. Government merchandise or knockoff MLB merchandise but that they are afraid of selling knockoff NFL merchandise? Is it possible that the N.F.L. is more feared, even in Washington, than the U.S. Government?