Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a sensation for the Buccaneers. Through two weeks he has 819 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and an astounding 151.5 passer rating. It’s enough to rekindle the usage of the term “FitzMagic”, but now another player is rushing to trademark the name.
Dolphins rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick, selected with the 11th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is claiming the nickname has always been his, and now he’s trying to solidify it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to The Sports Biz, the rookie Fitzpatrick is trying to secure the name “in connection with selling footwear, hats, headwear, and other types of apparel.”
There’s a conversation to be had over who deserves to own the term “FitzMagic” without diminishing Minkah Fitzpatrick. The former Alabama safety is a beast in his own right, winning two National Championships and just about every individual award a defender can in 2017 — but it still doesn’t feel quite right.
Who owns “FitzMagic”, really?
According to Minkah Fitzpatrick and his mother the Dolphins’ safety has had the nickname since he was in high school. Considering the rookie Fitzpatrick is just 21-years old that would make his claim on the name extend to roughly 2011, at the earliest.
However, there’s plenty of evidence that Ryan Fitzpatrick earned the nickname “FitzMagic” well before Minkah Fitzpatrick was ever in high school. In 2010, when Minkah was 13-years old the nickname spread while Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing for the Buffalo Bills.
So beloved was the “FitzMagic” nickname that fans made videos celebrating him.
Can two people have the same nickname?
I mean, sure — but there’s no denying that everything points to “FitzMagic” initially being a nickname for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sure, Minkah could have gained the nickname organically, or perhaps a JV coach somewhere realized that he shared a last name with Ryan and decided to re-purpose the nickname, but it definitely feels wrong for the lesser-known “FitzMagic” to trademark “FitzMagic.”
But, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Here’s the rub: If Minkah Fitzpatrick holds the “FitzMagic” nickname so near and dear to his heart, there isn’t a lot of evidence.
A Google search for his name and “FitzMagic” from Jan. 1, 2011 to Jan. 1, 2017 shows just one instance of anyone calling him by the nickname, a 2014 write up by NJ.com when he committed to play at Alabama.
Moreover, Minkah Fitzpatrick has only ever tweeted the nickname once — also in response to the same article.
So who should own the nickname?
I dunno, I’m not a lawyer. Ask the patent office. Seriously though, if Minkah’s claim to the nickname is uncontested it will be his — but it feels, just, wrong. There’s no evidence at this time that Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to make a claim for the name. At this point he probably doesn’t need to. Dude is going to keep tearing it up, get another massive contract and keep his cycle of success rolling for another few years.