Odell Beckham Jr. is coming for Nike–the legal way! He claims the athletic-wear company suppressed sneaker sales that would’ve landed him a contract extension. As a result, OBJ estimates that Nike kept more than $20 million out of his pockets! According to TMZ Sports, Odell’s attorney Daniel Davillier filed a lawsuit against Nike to collect his client’s alleged coins.
The lawsuit reveals that Odell considered switching athletic retailers to Adidas when his Nike deal was nearing expiration. Per Complex, OBJ first signed a three-year deal worth $45 million with Nike in 2014.
In 2017, Adidas offered a deal reportedly worth up to $47 million in guaranteed extensions. Adidas also offered an upfront payment, an annual salary base between $3.2 and $4.2 million, guaranteed royalties, and a guaranteed extension.
Rather than lose Odell, Nike chose to match the Adidas offer and agreed to name him a Brand Icon, allegedly making OBJ the first NFL player to receive the title.
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However, Beckham Jr. says the fine print in Nike’s offer differs from what Adidas offered. He says the structure of Nike’s contract made it “impossible to trigger very valuable extensions of the deal,” per TMZ. Odell released a statement addressing the suit.
“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. When Nike exercised its right of first refusal to match the Adidas offer and not only kept me as a Nike Athlete but also make me one of their Brand Icons–my dream had been fulfilled,” OBJ said. “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.”
Relationship With Nike Started Crumbling In March
OBJ claims the relationship with Nike started crumbling in March 2022 after the shoewear company shorted his check. Instead of paying OBJ the $2.6 million he expected, the retailer allegedly held $2 million of the funds without any warning.
Odell says he later learned that Nike withheld the money because he violated his contract by altering his footwear and gloves last season. However, the Los Angeles Rams’ player insists he was forced to customize his Nike cleats because the retailer didn’t provide him with shoes that matched the colors of his new team.
He added that he always customizes his gloves to maintain his “high fashion brand” look and that Nike hasn’t objected in the past. In his statement, Odell said he’s “taking a stand” for himself and to “set a precedent for all athletes who have dedicated their life to the sport they love.”
“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,” OBJ said.
The lawsuit says Odell believes Nike added the penalties to pressure him into signing a lesser deal with them. In his statement, the athlete said the lawsuit is also to set a precedent for athletes who “don’t have the means to stand up for themselves.”
Odell also asked that questions be referred to his lawyer Daniel, but not before he clarified his intention to shed light on athletes and their rights.
“I look forward to resolving this issue and hope we can start a real conversation about protecting athletes and their rights,” Odell said. “This happens too often in the sports industry, and it’s time for change.”
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It’s unclear how much OBJ is seeking in damages from Nike.