Judge blocks sales of Tebow jersey


In this March 26, 2012, file photo, Reebok brand New York Jets football jerseys with the name and number of their new quarterback Tim Tebow hang on display at a Modell's store in New York. Nike Inc. claims in a lawsuit on Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in U.S. District Court that Reebok International Ltd. has used Tebow's name on Jets-related apparel without permission since it was announced last week that Tebow was traded from the Denver Broncos to New York. The Tebow trade occurred just before Nike replaces Reebok on Sunday as the supplier of NFL team uniforms. (Associated Press)

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.

NEW YORK — New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has already been introduced to fans, but they'll have to wait until Tuesday to meet his official NFL jersey.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel granted Nike Inc. a temporary restraining order late Wednesday, finding “sufficient reason” for him to block sales of Tebow merchandise created by Reebok International Ltd. after March 1.

Nike has a five-year contract to be the NFL's exclusive provider of on-field apparel, including game uniforms and sideline apparel. It maintained in a lawsuit that Reebok rushed to market with Tebow apparel to take advantage of a “unique and short-lived opportunity.”

Nike said Reebok was required to get Tebow's permission if it intended to hurry out shipments of Jets-Tebow apparel after he was traded last week from the Denver Broncos to the Jets. Reebok's 10-year NFL licensing deal ends this month.

Castel banned Reebok from selling any apparel with the name “Tebow” on it unless it was made by March 1, while he was still with the Broncos. He set a hearing in the case for Wednesday.

Reebok spokesman Daniel Sarro said Reebok was preparing evidence to “argue our position necessary to refute Nike's contentions.”

He added: “We intend to present that evidence at a hearing next week, which should enable the court to change its view once all the evidence is presented.”

Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said the company's Tebow products would be sold after the company launches its new jerseys for all 32 NFL teams on Tuesday.

Charlie Denson, president of the Nike brand, said during the company's earnings call last week that the company was “incredibly excited about the potential of our partnership with the NFL.”

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