(Photo: Reuters/Mike Stone)
A small Christian clothing company based in Dallas, Texas has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against former Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton over the phrase "Play Hard, Pray Harder."
Tyler and Josh Eckel of North Texas reportedly began using the phrase "Play Hard, Pray Harder" several years ago, ultimately making it the title of their Dallas-based Christian clothing company. The two businessmen printed thousands of articles of clothing displaying the phrase.
In December, the two brothers filed a lawsuit against Hamilton, claiming that he began using the phrase six months after they did, attempting to trademark it through his wife's North Carolina-based company ScriptureArt, including modeling a T-Shirt with the phrase on it. The lawsuit sought to clarify that the Eckel brothers had sold their merchandise across state lines before Hamilton had. The lawsuit ruled in favor of the Eckels, and Hamilton has agreed to not pursue trademark rights as a result of the ruling.
Dallas-based lawyer Eric Fein said in a statement to the Associated Press that his clients are pleased with the settlement, but they are also "extremely disappointed that the issue had to be extensively litigated for Hamilton to do the right thing."
Hamilton said in a press release that he is happy to have the "distraction resolved," adding "in the spirit of Matthew 5:39-40, I have settled the lawsuit over the commercial use of the phrase 'Play Hard, Pray Harder,' a phrase I've used regularly since 2006 and publically since 2008."
Matthew 5:39-40 states: "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well."
Hamilton went on to claim that he began using the phrase in 2006 to help him overcome alcohol and drug addiction. The ballplayer has long-attributed his ability to overcome these hurdles to his Christian faith.
The ballplayer has previously told the Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club" that his faith in God is what ultimately led him out of his repeated addiction to alcohol and hard drugs.
"People think there are coincidences in life. There are no coincidences when God's got a plan. It's nothing I did except try to make the right choices and let God take over from there. There's one solid and permanent way out of it, and that's finding the Lord Jesus Christ and accepting Him," Hamilton, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, said in 2010.