Current NFL free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has filed suit against Nike for allegedly swindling him out of millions, TMZ reports. The outlet reports the suit filed by Beckham claims the “Swoosh” suppressed sales of his sneakers that would have triggered a contract extension. OBJ is seeking to claim $20 million in lost earnings.
“Being a Nike Athlete and Brand Icon was a dream I’ve had since being a young boy. I wanted to be the next Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the Nike Family,” Beckham said in a statement.
“When Nike exercised its right of first refusal to match the Adidas offer and not only kept me as a Nike Athlete, but also made me one of their Brand Icons – my dream had been fulfilled.
“Unfortunately, Nike did not honor its commitments. Throughout our partnership, I have kept my promise and fulfilled my obligations to the brand. I am extremely disappointed that I’ve had to take these measures to ensure Nike fulfills their obligations and promises.”
Beckham’s attorney, Daniel Davillier, cites specific claims and grievances against Nike.
OBJ alleges once his original Nike deal expired in 2017 he considered jumping ship to Adidas, which offered him a huge contract. Not wanting to lose a marquee talent, OBJ says Nike exercised their right to match the Adidas deal. But the actual deal from Nike was not at all like the Adidas deal. In the world of multimillion dollar athlete endorsements there are all sorts of riders, escalators, and provisions within a contract. You could make the argument that in many cases, corporations choose to “hide details” in the fine print. Which is why athletes and companies need representation.A behemoth like Nike signs on athletes all the time. They invented the modern business of the signature athlete. But that doesn’t mean they are above reproach.Among the major allegations in the suit, OBJ says Nike made it nearly impossible for him to trigger very valuable extensions on the deal. In March 2022 OBJ was allegedly due a payment of $2.6 million and he claims Nike withheld more than $2 million of it.OBJ says Nike told him the money was withheld because he committed footwear and glove violations when he altered his equipment last year. According to the lawsuit, OBJ says Nike failed to provide him cleats that matched the colors of his new team, the Los Angeles Rams.
“Today, I’m taking a stand not just for me, but to set a precedent for all athletes who have dedicated their life to the sport they love – especially those who don’t have the means to stand up for themselves. We are held responsible for fulfilling our obligations under our contracts, but we also have to hold powerful companies like Nike accountable for honoring their commitments too.”
“I look forward to resolving this issue and hope we can start a real conversation about protecting athletes and their rights. This happens too often in the sports industry and it’s time for change.”
Maybe Nike was looking to move on from OBJ as he failed to produce the same meteoric highs when he was a member of the New York Giants and a two-time All-Pro.
Injuries limited a career that was projected to be among the greatest ever by a wide receiver, although he did win Super Bowl LVI with the Rams.
OBJ just turned 30 and is still good enough to be a legitimate wide receiver threat on a contending team.