WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - Former New York Yankees baseball star Derek Jeter sued luxury underwear company RevolutionWear as he defends himself against allegations he cost the company $26 million by failing to promote its Frigo brand.
The former All-Star shortstop is being sued in Sweden, where RevolutionWear was founded, for not promoting the underwear, which can cost up to $100 per pair, according to the celebrity news website TMZ.
Jeter brought his lawsuit to enforce his right to have RevolutionWear pay his legal costs related to his service as a director of the company.
The brand’s celebrity affiliations include New York Knicks basketball star Carmelo Anthony and rapper 50 Cent. TMZ reported that RevolutionWear’s suit claimed Jeter objected to 50 Cent’s involvement because it would make the brand too “urban.”
50 Cent responded to the report of Jeter’s comment by posting a photo of him on Instagram and a message that said, “Wow, guess I’m not a Yankees fan anymore. LETS GO METS?”
Jeter issued a statement denying making the comments about 50 Cent. He said he was unaware of any legal action against him and added that Mathias Ingvarsson, RevolutionWear’s founder, had threatened a negative publicity campaign if Jeter did not invest more cash in the business.
Jeter bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of the company’s convertible promissory notes and joined its board of directors in 2011, said his suit, which was filed last week and made public on Wednesday.
Jeter, who played 20 seasons for the Yankees before retiring in 2014, arranged meetings with celebrities and potential business partners but never agreed to endorse products, according to the lawsuit filed in Delaware’s Court of Chancery. He said the company struggled to create a market for its products and was looking for someone to blame for its financial troubles.
Management claimed that Jeter cost RevolutionWear millions of dollars in lost opportunities by not publicly promoting Frigo. Jeter resigned from the board in July and soon after the company demanded at least $26 million in damages, or it would sue.
Frigo underwear tout high-tech features such as a “soft-lock adjustment system” that promise “moisture control and support.”
RevolutionWear and its outside media firm, AKR Public Relations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Bill Trott