LFL Steals Name of the REAL Minnesota Valkyries, A Women’s Rugby Team

I did not need another reason to dislike the Lingerie Football League (LFL).. I got the announcement today, that tryouts for the new Minneapolis expansion team of the LFL will held Saturday, April 9. It wasn’t that tryouts will actually occur and a team will form, but that the LFL held a contest for fans to submit and then vote for a name for the Minneapolis team.

Evidently “Valkyrie” was submitted most frequently, received a “record 31,451 votes” and was subsequently chosen as the new name. The LFL already has a logo for the NEW Minnesota Valkyrie (notice in their tryout bulletin they stress “NEW”).

Why does this have me upset?

Minnesota ALREADY HAS a Valkyrie team of female athletes!! The Minnesota Valkyries Rugby Club has a long standing tradition of excellence as one of the elite organizations within USA Rugby, and has been around for as long as I can remember. The REAL Minnesota Valkyries have a mission statement and core values that include integrity, unity, respect, development and strength! The mission statement reads “The Minnesota Valkyries Rugby Club is an organization of former and present rugby players dedicated to the development of rugby, our team, and our community. We strive to maintain our position as one of the elite organizations within USA Rugby by creating a positive and enduring impact in all that we do. We bring honor to the sport of rugby by upholding our traditions, competing with pride, and understanding that every time we step onto the pitch we play for the legacy and future of The Minnesota Valkyries Rugby Club.

The First and Authentic Minnesota Valkyries

The LFL MISSION STATEMENT “The Lingerie Football League has become the Ultimate Fan-Driven Live Sports Phenomenon – Blending Action, Impact and Beauty.” No core values exist that I could find. Enough Said.

Can the LFL just hijack a team name? I don’t think so, if not legally, certainly by principle.

If you are reading this and are outraged, then please do something, anything….blog, call, tweet support (@valksrugby), tweet outrage (@MyLFL), “Like” the rugby team on Facebook, and pass the word.

If this is allowed, it is another way that real female athletes can be marginalized, co-opted and erased. What I find interesting is that I am guessing that the individuals who sumibtted and voted for the Valkyrie name are mostly 18-35 year old me who have NO CLUE that Minnesota has a tradition of high performance women’s rugby, let alone know what the team names are (yes, there is more than one women’s rugby team in MN)

Support the Valkyries Rubgy Club and help them make the LFL change their name.

p.s.-please don’t comment and tell me the names are different because the rugby team has an “s” on the end, and the LFL team name does not.

p.s.s.-I’d like to invite the Valkyries (the REAL athletes) to attend the LFL tryouts and help educate those in charge

17 Replies to “LFL Steals Name of the REAL Minnesota Valkyries, A Women’s Rugby Team”

  1. Agreed. I was upset when I found out that they hijacked a name when simply putting Minnesota Valkyrie in any search engine would have shown that there was already a rugby team here with that name. From what I’ve heard they think they have money on their side and aren’t concerned. I unfortunately will be out of town this weekend, but if I wasn’t I would be attending the tryouts to inform them and I encourage others who will be around to do it. If nobody seems upset they wont have a reason to change, we need to give them one.

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  2. Thank you Nicole, for writing this. I am a captain on the Minnesota Vixen women’s football team, the LFL thought about stealing our name as well, until they saw we were trademarked. The Vixen, like the Valkyries, have a long standing tradition of excellence and respect. The LFL is a insult to those of us who honor the tradition of real football.

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  3. shouldn’t it be p.p.s. instead of p.s.s.? I understand that pain, it sucks. Just like University of Southern California trademarked the letters SC and denied U of South Carolina the right to use SC.

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  4. Hi Dr. LaVoi,
    You have a problem. If you haven’t copyrighted your rugby club name then it is not legally protected. You may have a leg to stand on by continuous use or something like that.

    My recommendation would be to consult a copyright lawyer. If you don’t challenge this usurpation of your club name you are in jeopardy of losing the right to use it.

    I’ve seen you play my club’s women’s team (ORSU). You have a fine club and deserve the best treatment.

    Good Luck,

    Roger

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    1. Roger, I’m guessing the Valkyries never trademarked their name otherwise the LFL could not use it. It is in the same product category and it would be trademark infringement. While I don’t play for the Valks, I certainly support them. -nml

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  5. I think it’s awfully small minded of you to refer to the Valkyries as “the REAL athletes” – the women who play in the Lingerie Football League ARE “REAL” athletes…they also had nothing to do with the naming of the team.
    As a supporter of women in sports, I would think that you wouldn’t say anything to belittle the women that play in this league, whether you support the league itself or not.

    The fans nominated and voted for this name. You’re right, they probably had no idea that there was a rugby club with the same name. Hopefully this unfortunate event will raise awareness for all of women’s sports in Minnesota and other places across the country.

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    1. Carie,
      You are right, I shouldn’t disparage the women who play, and as I’ve said many times…I’m sure many LFL players are very good athletes. What I should say is that in my opinion, the LFL is not REAL SPORT. If you argue the LFL is not a real sport, then it is hard to consider the women who play “real” athletes, whether they are athletic or not. The sex appeal dimension of the league undermines any potential for the players to be taken seriously as athletes. The athleticism of the LFL players is not what is being promoted as top billing. -nml

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  6. On the incredible silliness and baseness of the LFL we cannot agree more.

    On the naming thing…. I am struggling. The term Valkyries is hardly proprietary to the rugby club. I think this would be like a West Side Story fan expressing outrage at the notion of the San Jose Sharks.

    Don’t get me wrong – anything that makes life hard for the LFL is a good thing. But, I am not sure that there is really a leg to stand on here. On the list of outrages committed by the LFL, co-opting the name of a rugby club (or…. probably more accurately, of a norse legend) is not that high on the list.

    Maybe focus more on public funding and the use of public outlets, such as the stadium/field etc. No pro sports startup ever gets by without some public support (even if through the side door) so that might be a more fruitful avenue.

    Best of luck!

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  7. I can certainly understand your initial reaction to the story. However, while I certainly can’t speak to the LFL’s intentions or knowledge of there being another women’s team in Minnesota having the name Valkyrie, I do know that is is completely unfair, if not ignorant, of you to inply that the women of the LFL are not “real” athletes. You can be upset about the chosen name and you can have your own opinion that the LFL is somehow demeaning to women, but to make statements beyond that is simply ridiculous and void of facts, obviously reflecting your own, personal issues regarding women that happen to be both attractive and athletic. By your own admission, it’s likely none of the fans had any idea there was a women’s rugby team by the name–that alone should tell you something. To be successful and attract attention, sponsors and fans a sport needs to be both a great athletic spectacle and entertainment. Do you also look down upon the women of the 1940s that had to wear skirts in order to take advantage of the opportunity to play baseball? In fact, I would be willing to bet that if the rugby players answered honestly, they would probably tell you they would be more than happy to wear a little bit less clothing in exchange for filling the stands. While you’re making your case for the name change, try to do without disparging women you clearly know so little about.

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  8. I see the theme “Real Female Athlete” recurring. While I think I understand at least one of your issues with the LFL, are you really assuming or asserting that the women who play in the LFL are not “real’ athletes? Furthermore, is it not common for name overlap and reuse league to league? (Honest question. I imagine there could be trademark/service mark issues but those are both expensive and generally left to the major sports leagues to pursue in my limited exposure).

    I covered our local LFL team here for the last two years and while I am in their target demographic that you point out above, I have maintained my coverage of them because what I found was women who were pretty impressive athletes with amazing dedication and heart. While i can see why people may take issue with the LFL on the surface and nothing is perfect, different does not have to be bad, does it? They don’t have to be sex and NOT sport, do they?

    As for the naming, if it is common for name overlaps, I am not sure why you are upset. I read the PR release form the Rugby squad which was excellent. (By Jen Triemstra) and seemed to cover it well.

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    1. Derek,
      I agree the press release by the rugby Valks was very well done and classy. They obviously decided to take the high road and not disparage the LFL. I commend them for that. I will however continue to be a critic of the LFL. -nml

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  9. The state of MN doesn’t care if you have registered your team name. If you have the name Minnesota Valkyries all they have to do is call themselves Minnesota Valkyries LFL and it is totally legal. This happens all the time in Adult Amatuer Sports. I run a team that has a registered team name but is registered also for a different sport. We didnt know about the other team until after we registered our info with the state. Only difference is we have a few more words behind it.

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