- (Photo: REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)
Tim Tebow's legal team is reportedly suing a T-shirt company for using the 24-year-old New York Jets quarterback's name to sell its apparel without his permission.
In an initial advertisement for T-shirts that replace the "NY Jets" logo with "My Jesus" and a football image with a fish containing a cross inside of it, the creators behind the shirts mention Tebow. Cubby Tees, the creators of the shirts, explained their design in an advertisement that was initially featured on the website.
"This fun design plays off the themes of Tebow's faith and his new team borrowing from the J-E-T-S to promote J-E-S-U-S with a fish for a football, and 'MY' replacing 'NY' with a color scheme that will be familiar to Jets fans," the ad stated. "We don't take sides on the field or in the hereafter -- we just try to make fans happy, and this shirt should fit Tebow followers to a tee."
The advertisement also spoke about Tebow's faith in an attempt to sell the apparel to his fans.
"Now that the NFL's most popular player has moved his pulpit from Denver to New York City, he'll no longer simply be delivering sermons from the mountains -- he'll have the attention of the world's premiere media market," the Cubby Tees advertisement said. "Jets for Jesus! Whether his message or his playing skills will thrive under the bright lights of Gotham remains to be seen, but we know that a legion of believers will have faith in him."
However, TMZ has obtained the Cease and Desist letter from Tebow's attorney demanding that the company remove any mention of the NFL star when attempting to sell apparel.
"Not only has Cubby Tees used Mr. Tebow's name to promote Cubby Tees, but the Merchandise makes it appear as if Mr. Tebow actually endorses Cubby Tees and its products. Mr. Tebow's name, voice, likeness and identity have a substantial economic value when used for the purposes of advertising, marketing, promoting or endorsing products or services and/or when he serves as a spokesperson," the cease and desist letter stated. "Cubby Tees has misappropriated that valuable property right through the use of Mr. Tebow's name in and in connection with the Merchandise has been unjustly enriched thereby."
The incident is not the first legal issue involving Tebow since his move to the Big Apple.
Jared Kleinstein, a 24-year-old Tebow fan from New York City, started the website www.Tebowing.com during the 2011-2012 NFL season when Tebow's prayer stance before games turned into a worldwide phenomenon. A large number of supporters sent photographs to Kleinstein's website, where "Tebowing" poses could be viewed in unusual places, such as hospital rooms and mountain peaks.
The website creator began selling merchandise on the website and attempted to patent the Internet meme, which caught the attention of Tebow and his legal team. Anthony Keats, Tebow's attorney, protested Kleinstein's application, which was later denied by the trademark office's examining attorney, W.Wendy Jun, according to Newsday reports last month.
In March, the quarterback was at the center of a legal battle between clothing and apparel brands Nike and Reebok that has resulted in a court-issued restraining order being issued by Nike.
Although TMZ reports that Tebow's latest legal situation is ongoing and Cubby Tees is not backing down from selling the apparel, the company's website was not operating at press time.