Shirts Off

One month ago, in the story "Tee'd Off," graphic designer Patrick Reeves told the Dallas Observer he wasn't "trying to make enemies" with his line of novelty T-shirts touting Dallas as "the can't-do city" and thanking Mayor Laura Miller for losing the Dallas Cowboys to Arlington. "It's not like we're crazy activists," Reeves said then. "We're having fun. The only thing we were worried about was what if people got a hold of these and think we're bashing the city. But that hasn't happened."

And now it won't, at least as far as the "Arlington Cowboys Football" T-shirt's concerned. As of this week, it no longer exists.

On Monday, Reeves received an e-mail from Bill Priakos, the Dallas Cowboys' vice president of marketing, who, in the midst of doling out kind words, also asked Reeves to stop making and selling the tees, since they infringed on the Cowboys' trademark. (The shirts, with white block letters on a dark blue background, are similar to the Cowboys' practice T-shirts.) Priakos wrote Reeves that while he appreciated "the spirit" of the shirt, it's his job to protect the Cowboys' trademark from folks profiting off of it. Reeves says he figured something like this was coming--especially after D magazine ran a picture of the shirt in a short item about Reeves.

"At first I was like, 'Oh, man, I have to stop selling it," Reeves says. "Then I was like, I understand the integrity of their brand, but I think it's funny how I probably sold 75 of those shirts with hardly any mention at all, except from you and D and on The Ticket."

Priakos says he didn't want to come after Reeves and insists the Cowboys won't take legal action against him as long as he stops producing the shirts. Reeves has already taken the shirts off his Web site,, and says he will not sell the handful remaining in stock.

The shirts, Priakos says, "aren't a threat to the Dallas Cowboys, but the point is legally I am forced to enforce our trademark, even though we don't want to sometimes, because if you don't, it opens the door for somebody who is treacherous and who will hurt you. If you were my friend and did it, I would have to make the same phone call to you."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky