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Justin Herbert Downtown card art allegedly stolen by Panini

Chargers, Justin Herbert, Panini

When thinking about sports cards, Downtown is definitely among the best inserts Panini has to offer. The card’s eye-catching design, coupled with a very short print run, makes it a consistent favorite among collectors. But while its popularity in the hobby remains intact, a recent development involving a Justin Herbert card can potentially change the insert’s reputation for the worse.

In a post shared by Cardporn, the background found on Panini’s 2021 Donruss Downtown Justin Herbert card allegedly features several art pieces that were done by Bobby Rubio. According to his Twitter account, the said artist has done creative work for Paramount, Pixar, Marvel, and Disney, among others.

Going beyond Herbert’s profile on the card, a total of three caricatures can be seen at the back. Oddly enough, these three images look identical to Rubio’s work, which can be seen in images gathered by Cardporn.

Rubio himself has not stayed silent on this issue. In his Twitter account, he stated that the Justin Herbert insert features his Bolt Hero character without any permission of using it from the card company. As of this writing, Panini has not yet issued any statement on this allegation or made any efforts to clear the matter up.

Of course, this isn’t Panini’s first rodeo when it comes to intellectual rights. Just a few months ago, the company settled with Upper Deck over charges of illegally inserting Michael Jordan’s images on their cards. This development came after the two card companies battled for years in court over the said issue.

This time, though, the allegations against Panini look solid after seeing Rubio’s work side by side with the card itself. It remains to be seen whether the company will try to settle this one quietly or Rubio will take legal action to remedy the alleged theft of his work.