Nike Sues Reebok Over Tebow Jerseys

Says company doesn't have right to sell them
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2012 1:39 PM CDT
In this March 26 photo, Reebok jerseys with Tim Tebow's name hang on display in a New York City store.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
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(Newser) – March is generally a sleepy time for sales of NFL apparel—unless there happens to be a trade of the Tim Tebow variety. Reebok quickly shipped Tebow-Jets jerseys to stores and online retailers to cash in, and that has Nike crying foul in court. The suit centers on the normally arcane world of NFL licensing agreements, explains the Wall Street Journal and In this case, Reebok's deal to sell NFL gear ended March 1, before the trade happened, while Nike's begins in early April. That kind of gap from one contract to the next isn't unusual in the offseason, but this year it's causing headaches.

Nike thinks Reebok should be able to sell only inventory it had on hand before March 1—and that would mean that any Tebow jerseys would be from his time with the Broncos. “Reebok has sought to take advantage of this unique, short-lived opportunity by supplying, without authorization or license, Tebow-identified New York Jets apparel to retailers in New York and elsewhere around the country," says the lawsuit. Nike is especially ticked because it has a separate deal with Tebow to market products with his name. The suit got filed late yesterday.

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