New football team's name is 'CFL Colts'

March 01, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Call them the "CFL Colts." The "Baltimore CFL Colts."

That is owner Jim Speros' compromise choice for the name of his Canadian Football League expansion team, which will begin play here this summer.

The announcement was made at a downtown hotel this morning. Also unveiled was the team logo, which is a chess-like figure of a horse's head.

The decision to identify the new team as the "CFL Colts" is a concession to a threatened lawsuit by the National Football League for an alleged trademark infringement.

NFL Properties holds trademark rights to "Colts" and president John Flood had threatened legal action earlier this month if Mr. Speros adopted the name of the NFL team that abandoned Baltimore in 1984.

CFL commissioner Larry Smith, in town for the announcement, said he fully supports the new team's name. He also said he feels the name addresses the legal issues of confusion over whether these "Colts" have any affiliation with the NFL.

"Again, the objective we have is we want to give the fans what they want," said Mr. Smith, "and what they want is the 'Colts' name. We also want to respect the NFL.

"We're talking about the people of Baltimore -- not Jim Speros, not the CFL, or us trying to be adversarial or upstage the NFL. The only reason I support this, it's for the fan."

Mr. Speros, a Virginia businessman who was voted into the league on Feb. 15, had mulled the possibility of calling the team the "Silver Colts" or "Fighting Colts." After conversations with Mr. Flood late last week, he also considered "Stallions," "Bombers" or "Mustangs."

Mr. Speros said he is still negotiating with the NFL. Whether his choice of "CFL Colts" will get NFL approval is uncertain.

"I think we've done things with the name to protect ourselves, and we did them for reasons of staying out of court," Mr. Speros said yesterday.

Mr. Speros already has reached agreement with the city to lease Memorial Stadium for the coming season, which runs from July to November. A proven CFL coach, Don Matthews, and a veteran quarterback, Tracy Ham, also are in place.

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