According to Homer, Helen of Troy’s beauty was so great that it led to her abduction by Greek warrior Paris which then sparked a backlash from the other Greek states and the whole Trojan War thing. Now, thousands of years after the Greeks used the Trojan Horse ruse to sack Troy and recover Helen, Tim Tebow’s larger-than-life personality and name have sparked a similar war between the titans of professional posts apparel, Nike and Reebok.
For anyone who doesn’t follow the NFL or American professional football, Tim Tebow is the wannabe wunderkind who played quarterback for national-title winning Florida University before gaining even more notoriety playing the same position for the NFL’s Denver Broncos. Tebow is outspoken in crediting his creator (God, not his parents) for his (ahem) “talent” and he has had very brief, checkered playing time in the NFL marked by very erratic performances. Loved by some, hated by others, and fascinating to many, Tebow was traded from the Broncos to the New York Jets when veteran quarterback Peyton Manning unexpectedly found himself on the market and agreed to a multi-million dollar deal with Denver.
So, how did this lead to war between Nike and Reebok? Well, Reebok has been the official provider of team uniforms and sports apparel to the NFL for many years, but the NFL recently negotiated a new contract with rival Nike that was set to go into effect April 1, thereby bumping Reebok from very lucrative sales. Not to be outdone, Reebok took advantage of the timing and released Jets jerseys emblazoned with Tebow’s name after the trade was announced and before the Nike-NFL contract went into effect.
Nike was not amused and so, last week, Nike, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Reebok International Ltd. (a subsidiary of the Adidas Group) alleging that Reebok used Tebow’s name on Jets apparel without express permission from Nike or Tebow’s consent. Of course, the lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and states that demand for Tebow Jets gear was abnormally high during the short sales window before Nike took over. It also alleges that the unauthorized Reebok jerseys will compromise the sale of authorized Nike jerseys in the future.
While it’s doubtful any cities will be razed or that Tebow will carried back to Denver on a chariot, it should be an interesting case to watch unfold.