Cleveland is a city that is no stranger to strange behavior by professional sports franchises. Former Brown’s owner Art Modell moved the beloved franchise to Baltimore in 1996. LeBron James famously took his talents to South Beach. It’s not easy being a Cleveland fan.
Now, the city is faced with an even weirder controversy. After changing their name from the racially insensitive Indians to the Guardians, another local team has stepped in to say that the name’s already been taken. TMZ has reported a lawsuit over the name was filed by the Cleveland Guardians roller derby team.
The roller derby Guardians filed a suit this week alleging the Major League Baseball squad of using their clout and money to steal their team name. The derby franchise says that they’ve had the Guardians name trademarked since 2013.
The suit claims that the baseball club filed for a trademark in the East African island nation of Mauritius to hide their intentions from the derby club. The team then made a paltry offering to buy the intellectual property rights from the roller derby side.
The owner of the roller derby team, Gary Sweat, says that the offer from the ball club was insulting. Negotiations broke down and the lawsuit was filed.
The derby team alleges that the baseball team caused them monetary harm. They are unable to fulfill orders on their website as fans who believe the baseball team owns the rights flood them with purchases. They also say that their website crashed.
Should the baseball team be allowed to keep the Guardians name? Share your thoughts in the comments!