I first heard about the Saints ‘Rebirth’ statue in this article from ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas. In the piece he talks about how the Saints created this statue to commemorate their return to football after Hurricane Katrina, and special teamer/defensive back Steve Gleason blocked the punt from Michael Koenen in a nationally televised game. He goes on to report that the artist who built the sculpture was going to include Koenen’s name and the Falcons logo in the sculpture. They sought the Falcons go-ahead, and the Falcons resoundingly denied the request. Arthur Blank personally denied it.
Here is where things get funny– Yasinskas thinks that the Falcons took this a bit too far.
Too far? I normally think that Yasinskas has a pretty good feel for the NFC South beat, and he feels the pulse of the division rivalries about as well as any journalist out there. But he is way off on this one. The teams detest each other in the South– ESPECIALLY the Falcons and Saints. Why on earth would the Falcons allow a team to create a sculpture that included their team’s logo on it– a sculpture depicting a scene that is a horrible embarrassment to the Falcons? Everyone already knows who the punter was, and the two opponents. The Falcons don’t owe the Saints a thing.
Obviously the Falcons have all the proper trademarks, copyrights, and other rights reserved to their logo. They reserve the right to say no when someone comes along asking to use its likeness. Yeah, I get that Katrina was a bad event, and that New Orleans is trying to remember footballs return to the town. But do the Atlanta Falcons really have to acquiesce and help the media fervor that has been following the Saints the past few years? Absolutely not. I personally did humanitarian work for the city of New Orleans in the post-Katrina months with Habitat for Humanity, and got to know a bunch of great individuals in the New Orleans community. However, I would never do anything to help the Saints franchise. Apparently the Atlanta Falcons won’t either.