American soccer star Megan Rapinoe on Thursday warned Dwayne Johnson that he may be hit with a cease-and-desist order, claiming his football league’s new logo too closely resembles the branding of the company co-owned by her fiancée.
Johnson, the highest-paid actor in Hollywood and an entrepreneur, unveiled the new logo for the XFL—the NFL alternative he’s relaunching in 2023—on Twitter Thursday. Shortly thereafter, Rapinoe tweeted that he should be expecting litigation from Togethxr, a media company for women owned by basketball star Sue Bird (Rapinoe’s fiancée), soccer champion Alex Morgan, professional swimmer Simone Manuel and snowboarder Chloe Kim.
“Welp. This is awkward. Only thing @TheRock and @XFL2023 are gonna be cookin up is a response to the Cease and Desist and an ENTIRE new brand ID. @togethxr got this on [emoji symbol for a “lock”] boys,” Rapinoe wrote, referencing the “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?” catchphrase Johnson used during his time spent wrestling in the WWE as The Rock.
Johnson’s former boss, WWE chairman and and CEO Vince McMahon, founded the XFL in 2001. The league was marketed as an edgier version of the NFL, with fewer penalties and a faster playing time. (“XFL” is not an abbreviation for anything, despite popular belief that it stands for “eXtreme Football League.”)
Under McMahon, the XFL folded after one season before he revived it in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the season being canceled midway through its first year back. In August 2020, Johnson and his longtime business partner Dany Garcia joined a consortium in purchasing the league with a planned return for February 2023.
In February, 2022, the XFL and NFL released a joint statement to announce a strategic partnership. The leagues won’t work together in games, but the agreement states the two will collaborate on “forward-thinking physical and mental fitness programs for players,” according to the press release.
When Johnson shared the new XFL logo on Twitter, he wrote that the “X represents the INTERSECTION OF DREAMS & OPPORTUNITY.”
Along with Rapinoe, Bird and Manuel of Togethxr noted the similarities between the two logos.
“Well, doesn’t this look familiar,” Bird tweeted.
“What Sue said!” Manuel said.
The athletes behind Togethxr, all of whom are Olympic champions, started the company in 2021 with an intended goal to reach a young audience with a message of inclusivity and positivity. Togethxr defines itself a media and commerce hybrid that focuses on stories across sports, lifestyle and activism.
Newsweek reached out to Johnson and Togethxr for comment.
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Dwayne Johnson threatened with cease-and-desist by Megan Rapinoe