Clemson Football is 2-2 following a gut-wrenching loss to Florida State in overtime this Saturday.
The ways Clemson has managed to lose to Duke and FSU aren’t just uncommon, some of them have been completely out of left field.
Especially when you consider some of the positive statistics and measurements that suggest that the Tigers are a very competitive team, the mistakes that have negated the positives have often been bizarre.
As such, the latest drama arising from last Saturday’s loss involves one of the most bizarre characters of the past few years, the one and only Joe Exotic, also known as ‘The Tiger King’.
If you haven’t heard about this, here is how it goes:
Florida State opened the season with a convincing win over LSU in Orlando. LSU, of course, is also nicknamed the Tigers.
After he led his team to victory this weekend, everyone’s favorite disrespected opponent, Jordan Travis, decided to take advantage of finally defeating Clemson after several attempts by creating a new t-shirt as a NIL opportunity.
Branding himself “The College King”, the shirt has a depiction of Travis sitting atop two Tigers, one colored orange representing Clemson and the other colored yellow representing LSU.
It’s honestly clever, and he is splitting the NIL proceeds with his offensive line. He’s trolling Clemson, but to the victors go the spoils.
Of course, the imprisoned Exotic saw the shirt and decided to use it as a chance to get attention.
I can’t post Exotic’s post on X here due to inappropriate language. You can click on the link if you want to read it in full, but here are a couple of quotes:
"“Jordan Travis was 6 years old when I became The Tiger King, it is my trademark, my intellectual property and I’m sick of others cashing in on my Trademark just because President Biden cares nothing about me being wrongfully in prison in America. I will give ANY ATTORNEY 80% of a settlement to sue Jordan Travis and ALL companies selling stuff using Tiger King. Time quarterbacks and anyone else in this country stops stealing from others, which attorney would like to take this multimillion dollar case? DM me!”“Until Jordan Travis walks in a cage with 20 full grown tigers and kisses them on the head, leave the Tiger King business to me.”"
You can’t make this stuff up.
Jordan Travis’s troll job of Clemson and LSU probably doesn’t violate Joe Exotic’s trademark rights
Now before we go much further, we need to acknowledge that Exotic probably has zero chance of being successful in a lawsuit against Travis. Says IP attorney Darren Heitner:
"“Travis has branded the shirt as a College King shirt, and I don’t see how any reasonable consumer would be confused as to the source of the item nor whether there is an affiliation or association with Joe Exotic. Travis is clearly exploiting a parody of the Tiger King based on beating Clemson and LSU. It’s creative and I give him and his reps credit for the ingenuity.”"
In the long run, this amounts to nothing. It might amount to nothing in the short term as well, but then again, there might be a lawyer out there who might want to take a swing at this, either for the notoriety or the potential financial benefits.
Now might the schools have some case if they think Travis’s shirt is a depiction of their mascots, which are also protected? That might still be TBD.
As I said earlier, Travis won both games fair and square, and he is doing nothing wrong by profiting from his success, but as a fan who admits the loss still stings, I won’t cry if Travis has to meander his way through some red tape and drama with Joe Exotic.