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Clowney threatens to sue sandwich shop over sign

Mississippi State v South Carolina Getty Images

When Jadeveon Clowney signed with agent Bus Cook instead of Jay Z, he was probably thinking more about football contracts than trademark infringement.

Clowney, through Cook, reportedly threatened to sue a sandwich shop in Clowney’s hometown for using the South Carolina defensive end’s name on its sign.

According to Andrew Kiel of WRHI radio in Rock Hill, S.C., Charlie Ruffalo, the owner of Sub Station II, recently changed the sign outside his restaurant to read: “Hurry in for our Jadeveon Clowney sub, it goes really fast.”

This was after Clowney racked up a pair of speeding tickets in December, and Ruffalo got a call from Cook about it.

He threatened to file an injunction to get me to take it down,” Ruffalo said. “I explained to him, ‘If you want to spend the time, effort and money of your client to take it down, I’ll do it for free if you are a nice guy.’”

Cook defended his actions, saying: “I’ve been doing this business for twenty-something years. I’ve never known people to arbitrarily and openly take somebody’s name and use it for their benefit without getting permission. And that’s what this is.”

Cook is right.  Clowney has become a commodity.  Failure to defend that commodity when someone tries to usurp it without fair compensation undermines the investments others surely will be making in the Clowney brand.

Ruffalo has been known to capitalize on local celebrities for attention in the past. When Mel Gibson was filming the movie The Patriot nearby in 1999, he put up a sign that read: “Please don’t bother Mel Gibson while he eats here.”

Ruffalo said the sign would be changed Monday, but his attempts to get more attention for his restaurant (which we just assisted in) will likely continue.

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26 Responses to “Clowney threatens to sue sandwich shop over sign”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 23, 2014 11:36 AM

    Just give Clowney a piece of equity and he will promote the biz instead. And assist in making a new sandwich with a new title to more accurately represent his brand.

  2. carlsbadboltfan says: Jan 23, 2014 12:00 PM

    Wow…what a diva.

  3. officialgame says: Jan 23, 2014 12:03 PM

    Next time just put more meat in the sandwich.

  4. riverhorsey says: Jan 23, 2014 12:04 PM

    Petty move by Clowney’s atty. It’s an independent guy with a sandwich shop.

  5. damcmp says: Jan 23, 2014 12:40 PM

    Whats on the sandwich???

  6. norseyapper says: Jan 23, 2014 12:46 PM

    People are missing the point here. Clowney’s name, face, etc. is soon going to be worth a lot of money in endorsements. They have to draw the line immediately to stop unauthorized use or it undermines their legitimate business interests. Those interests will “earn” this young man millions and that is worth defending.

  7. smalltownqb says: Jan 23, 2014 12:49 PM

    Gotta remember this is Bus Cook we are talking about. No shock here.

    Clowney was smart to kick Jay-Z to the curb.

  8. tajuara says: Jan 23, 2014 12:50 PM

    He does not have a case because he is not the only Jadeveon Clowney in the entire planet earth, he may be the most petulant and arrogant Jadeveon Clowney though

  9. dexterismyhero says: Jan 23, 2014 1:05 PM

    he could have been talking about his 40 time though. that’s a compliment.

  10. kvgrekop says: Jan 23, 2014 1:11 PM

    People sure love to hate. It’s like an autograph, the more you put it out the less it’s worth. A little petty maybe, but more smart than petty. Not sure how anyone could hate on him for making a sound business decision. Bus Cook isn’t cheap, may as well utilize his services.

  11. realfootballfan says: Jan 23, 2014 1:15 PM

    For those defending the sandwich shop guy, I guess all that stuff about capitalism and rules of business apply only when it concerns rich corporations. The owner of the shop knows he’s in the wrong, which is why he made that idiotic statement about “if they want to waste time litigating it in court.” I hope they sue him out of business because that’s pretty indicative of the lack of character this clown has since he’s acknowledging he’s doing something unethical.

  12. fair2bfare says: Jan 23, 2014 1:18 PM

    Wow people are actually defending this name exploiting sub shop owners.

  13. djshnooks says: Jan 23, 2014 1:27 PM

    All respect lost for Clowney.

    It’s one thing if it is a chain restaurant you see while at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL…but it’s you hometown sub shop?!?

    What a jerk.

  14. slugdc says: Jan 23, 2014 1:33 PM

    This is one of those “it’s technically wrong but so the hell what” kind of things. Yes, the guy shouldn’t use Clowney’s name without permission. But nobody can honestly say that the income of this kid, who is about to be made into an instant multi-millionaire, is really going to be affected by a joke sandwich name on the menu of a single storefront smalltown sub shop. I mean, it is apparently the 8 time winner of “Best Sandwich Shop in York County”, but be serious; this doesn’t affect Clowney’s bottom line at all. He’s pissed about the speeding joke and is using the “protecting the brand” angle to get it removed. That’s all. Don’t pretend it is anything else but a guy being salty that someone is making a joke at his expense. If this guy left off the speeding reference and just had a “Clowney Sub” on the menu board along with sandwiches named after other local celebs then this wouldn’t even have been on his radar.

  15. kitnamania13 says: Jan 23, 2014 1:33 PM

    I guess it’s not only his first name that begins with J

  16. jwil007 says: Jan 23, 2014 1:37 PM

    Maybe he wants white castles, Crystals and Dairy Cream contracts instead of deals with Nike, Tru Religion and Beats…yea I get it now..Thats why he chose Bus Cook over JayZ…..LOL

  17. squared80 says: Jan 23, 2014 1:51 PM

    Here we go!

  18. thepftpoetlivesinhismomsbasement says: Jan 23, 2014 1:53 PM

    This guy will be a flop in the NFL.

    Maybe he can get some pancake house gigs.

  19. moses180bc says: Jan 23, 2014 1:59 PM

    you think maybe that Ruffalo knew he was getting some free pub? look at how many ppl read this story. pretty smart guy to use reporters for free advert.

  20. jgedgar70 says: Jan 23, 2014 2:02 PM

    The politicians (in both parties) continue to have great success getting the citizens to engage in civil war based on money. They’ve got us all screaming bloody murder that anyone who has one dollar more than us is the very definition of evil.

    If this shop owner put the name on a sub of some guy in the neighborhood that only people in Rock Hill knew and that wasn’t at all wealthy, and didn’t give the namesake a cut of the profits, veryone here would be calling for the shop owner’s head. But because he stole the name of a football player who will soon be a millionaire, the football player is a jerk for protesting.

    Y’all oughta be ashamed of yourselves.

  21. doe22us says: Jan 23, 2014 3:27 PM

    Didnt they name a sandwich after Big Ben, shoot i will do cart wheels if a sandwich was named after me, all in good fun.

  22. mediasloppy says: Jan 23, 2014 3:57 PM

    I gave up caring last year when some clown proceeded to copyright kissing his bicep…

    I never put much stock into all this oligarchy ruling the World but after reading how many people are bent out of shape about this villainous small business owner usurping the powers that be, I’m reaching for my tinfoil hat.

    Time to tune in Alex Jones to learn about the Bilderberg meetings around the World.

  23. rcali says: Jan 23, 2014 4:03 PM

    Justin Blackmon 2.0?

  24. dzor22 says: Jan 23, 2014 5:24 PM

    I know Charlie Ruffalo and have eaten at that Sub Station there on Cherry Rd for years. He makes a damn fine ‘sammich’. I also respect MR Clowney’s and Mr Cook’s position. It seems they all did the right thing. Someone needs to put on a sin that Rock Hill, SC is an NFL player factory!

  25. bjames65 says: Jan 25, 2014 8:43 AM

    wow, a lot of these comments are stupid and ignorant. In the United States you cannot use anyone’s name or likeness to make a profit. If you want to use someone’s name or likeness you have to seek their permission first. How is he arrogant or a diva for standing up for his rights?

  26. bjames65 says: Jan 25, 2014 8:52 AM

    So if it was Donald Trump name being used I am sure no one would have a problem with him suing the sub shop owner, lol. I guess it would be another art of the deal move for Donald.

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