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Nike Suit Ends With Reebok Recalling Tim Tebow Jerseys

Adidas AG’s Reebok International will recall New York Jets jerseys and T-shirts with quarterback Tim Tebow’s name on them as part of a settlement of a lawsuit with Nike Inc., a judge said.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan yesterday signed an order closing a suit filed by Nike and ordering that Reebok offer to buy back jerseys in retail stores and recall any jerseys under its control.

Reebok’s licensing agreement with the National Football League ended March 31, and Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike this month became the official supplier of licensed NFL apparel. Nike sued March 27 to block Reebok from selling the jerseys, which were sold after Tebow’s trade to the Jets.

“We’re pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable resolution,” Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said in an e-mailed statement today.

Castel’s order was issued with agreement of both sides. Castel had previously issued rulings blocking Reebok from selling the jerseys.

“We’re pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable resolution,” Daniel Sarro, a Reebok spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

Lawyers for Canton, Massachusetts-based Reebok had argued that the company had the right to sell the jerseys and T-shirts under a sell-off provision of its licensing agreement with Players Inc., the marketing affiliate of the National Football League Players Association.

Tebow, 24, helped lead the Denver Broncos to the NFL playoffs after taking over as the team’s starting quarterback last year. He was traded to the Jets on March 21.

Tebow, a Christian who prays on the field after his team wins, was named the most popular professional athlete in the U.S. in an ESPN poll this year. His Broncos jersey was the second-highest selling of all NFL players last season, Nike said in the complaint.

The case is Nike Inc. v. Reebok International Ltd., 12-cv-2275, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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