They say family can be your worst enemy and two-sport icon Bo Jackson is experiencing that horrible truth firsthand. Jackson was awarded $21 million in a civil case against his niece and nephew who he says were extorting and stalking him.
The lawsuit, filed in April in suburban Atlanta, alleged that Thomas Lee Anderson and his sister, Erica M. Anderson Ross, tried to extort $20 million from the former Heisman Trophy winner using blackmail, harassment and other tactics of intimidation.
Cobb County Judge Jason Marbutt found for Jackson in a default judgment after the siblings failed to appear in court on Jan. 31 to contest a temporary protective order the judge had issued last May. Because they failed to rebut Jackson’s allegations in court, Marbutt ruled they had accepted the claims as true.
When Did Bo Jackson’s Niece and Nephew First Attempt $20M Blackmail Plot?
Jackson claimed the harassment started in 2022 via threatening social media posts and messages. They took it a step further with false public allegations that threatened to damage Jackson’s reputation and public disclosure of private information intended to destroy his mental stability.
At one point, the assailants threatened to disrupt a charity event that Jackson hosted near Auburn University, where he is a legend and recognized as one of the best running backs in college football history. According to the lawsuit, Jackson feared for his safety and for that of his family.
“Defendants have acted with malice, wantonness, oppression, with a conscious effort of indifference to circumstances and with the specific intent to cause Plaintiff harm,” Marbutt wrote in his ruling.
According to the lawsuit filed by Jackson through his Marietta, Georgia, attorneys in April, the Andersons — one of whom lives in Cobb County and the other in Texas — attempted to extort $20 million from Jackson in exchange for not publicly disclosing information that would cast him “in a false light” and cause “severe emotional distress.”
The Andersons wanted a huge bag as a payoff to end their aggressive conduct.
Their gamble obviously didn’t pay off. Jackson went to the courts and in addition to the cash settlement, his niece and nephew were also ordered to stay at least 500 yards away from the only man to play in an NFL Pro Bowl and MLB All-Star Game. Conditions state that they are not allowed to contact Jackson or any of his immediate family members.
Jackson was the first overall pick in the 1986 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he opted to play baseball and sign with the Kansas City Royals and became the modern era’s first two-sport legend.
When legendary Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis agreed to allow Jackson to do both, he became an overnight sensation in L.A. and one of the most captivating brands that the sports world has ever seen.
Jackson was as fast as the wind on the football field, but also, physical and tough as nails. He was one of one. On the baseball field Jackson was a five-tool athlete, capable of hitting the ball 500 feet, scaling walls to make improbable catches and defying the laws of gravity on the basepaths.
His NFL career ended after he dislocated a hip during the playoffs of the 1990 season but continued to play in MLB until 1994.
How Much Is Bo Jackson Worth?
Bo Jackson is reportedly worth $25 million. During his brief pro football and baseball careers, Bo made roughly $13 million. He was compensated handsomely and credited along with pitchman Michael Jordan as the game-changing personalities in the ’80s and ’90s that sparked Nike’s early shoe takeover.
According to Ad Age, within a year of Bo’s campaign’s launch, Nike had swallowed up 80 percent of the global cross trainer market and was generating $400 million per year in revenue.
He reportedly still gets at least $1 million a year from Nike and also runs a variety of successful businesses and continues to endorse products because of his sterling reputation.
At the age of 61 Bo still makes appearances each year at various events in his home state, from football games at Auburn to the Region’s Tradition golf tournament in Birmingham each year and his annual “Bo Bikes Bama” charity cycling event in Alabama.
Bo Has Defended His Reputation In Courts Before
This is not the first time Jackson has sued to defend his reputation against false or misleading information. In 2005, the Alabama native sued the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of California for defamation after the newspaper’s sports editor quoted a dietary specialist saying that the hip injury that ended Jackson’s career in a 1991 NFL playoff game was the result of anabolic steroid use. The paper later retracted its story and issued a public apology to Jackson.
“Unfortunately for those attempting to extort $20 million dollars from Jackson and his family, Bo still hits back hard,” Jackson’s attorneys — Robert Ingram and David Conley — said Monday in a news release about the case.