February 6, 2023

It seems like with each movement, the Washington Commanders step into some varying degree of controversy. And the franchise’s plans to unveil its new mascot when they take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 is no exception. 

Earlier this year, fans voted for the Commanders to either have a hog or a dog as the club’s mascot going forward as part of the team’s rebranding. The hog gives a tip of the cap to Washington’s famed offensive line that helped the organization to three Super Bowl titles. This weekend, Joe Gibbs is set to be in attendance for the celebration, some members of the “Hogs,” and “Hogettes” will be there in costume for the first time since 2012. 

However, representatives for five members of the original Hogs offensive linemen issued a statement that says they “do not want to be associated with the Commanders under its current ownership and management and require that their legacy and brand is protected.” 

Those five Hogs — Joe Jacoby, Mark May, John Riggins, Fred Dean and Doc Walker — are requesting a trademark for the “Hogs” term and have threatened legal action against the team. 

“Dan Snyder and the Washington Commanders are trying to profit off the original HOGS legacy by taking that trademark and associated goodwill and brand equity of the original HOGS,” the official statement reads. “The Commanders are using the original HOGS brand for commercial purposes with NO compensation to the men who’s blood & sweat equity built the original HOGS brand 40 years ago.”

The release also says that the original Hogs have tried to amicably resolve this dispute for many months, but to no avail. 

“The newly created Washington Commanders, are a different franchise with a completely different team name that we believe has no legal claim to the original HOGS legacy and brand created 40 years ago,” the group added.

Meanwhile, the team says it is “planning a celebration of the greatest offensive line ever to play the game. The HOGS are a key part of our franchise’s history and we want to keep their legacy alive with the next generation of fans. We have been working with the Hogs on this event for six months and look forward to welcoming them and Coach Gibbs back.”

As this battle wages on off the field, the current iteration of the franchise is playing for its postseason lives against the Browns and would likely need to win out in order to punch their ticket into the playoffs. 

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