Seattle Seahawks wade into Washington Senate race with cease-and-desist letter

The Seattle Seahawks sent a cease-and-desist letter to Republican Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley, joining several Seattle-based organizations in demanding she stop using their branding in her campaign advertising.

The Seahawks sent the letter demanding Smiley remove or blur the team branding visible on her husband’s jersey in a campaign ad. Her husband, Scotty, is an Army veteran who was blinded while serving in Iraq, and the team honored him as part of a campaign back in 2014.


“Absent an agreement with the National Football League (“NFL”) or the Seahawks, third parties are prohibited from using Seahawks Trademarks in any manner that may suggest that it is in any way endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with, the NFL or the Seahawks,” the Sept. 6 letter says. “Given that the Smiley for Washington campaign has no such agreement with the NFL or the Seahawks, we must ask that it immediately cease its unauthorized commercial use of Seahawks Trademarks. … It is our hope to resolve this matter quickly and amicably.”

The ad, which emphasizes the increased cost of food under the Biden administration, was originally launched on Sept. 1, and on Sept. 6, the Seahawks requested the removal of their brand from the ad. The campaign complied, and the current version of the commercial was uploaded on Sept. 8, in which the distinctive green parts of the jersey have been changed to blue.

Another campaign ad that launched on Sept. 20 highlights public safety problems in Seattle and got hit with two more cease-and-desists letters from Starbucks and the Seattle Times. In this ad, Smiley appears before a dilapidated coffee shop with a Starbucks sign on the building and uses headlines from the Seattle Times that include the paper’s nameplate. Instead of complying, Smiley’s campaign published the letters and accused them of unfairly targeting her when her opponent, Sen. Patty Murray (D), has used logos in similar ways.

“Tiffany Smiley didn’t back down when she was BULLIED by federal bureaucrats working against her fight to help her husband Scotty become the first blind active-duty Army officer,” said Kristian Hemphill, Smiley’s campaign manager. “Woke corporations thought they could help Patty Murray by BULLYING Tiffany with senseless legal threats. Their efforts have both failed and backfired. This campaign will continue to hold to account the failures of a three-decade incumbent and offer Washingtonians a path from crisis to hope, just as Tiffany did for Scotty and countless other injured veterans.”

The campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the Seattle Times since the paper didn’t take action when Murray used its logo in a similar way during her 2016 campaign.


Murray spokeswoman Naomi Savin told the outlet, “Just like Trump, MAGA Republican Tiffany Smiley apparently won’t miss an opportunity to attack Washington state — whether it’s local journalists, businesses or the Seahawks.”

Smiley’s spirited challenge to Murray, who has been in office since 1992, was a surprise to many in deep-blue Washington state. A recent poll from Trafalgar puts Murray only 2 points ahead of Smiley.