Kanye West ain’t the only celeb with drama over their partnership with a big sneaker company.
Odell Beckham Jr., the NFL free agent last seen on the football field winning his first Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams back in February, yesterday filed suit against Nike, saying the Beaverton, Ore., juggernaut wasn’t living up to its end of their agreement. Beckham’s lawsuit claims that that after Nike came through with a huge bag to keep him from defecting to adidas after his initial endorsement deal ended in 2017, the company has changed its tune, allegedly “withholding millions of dollars and inventing excuses not to pay him.”
According to documents submitted with the lawsuit, Beckham’s most recent Nike deal fan from July 2017 through June of this year. It came with a $5 million signing bonus and escalating cash payments and royalties that could make it worth up to $6.457 million on an annual basis, assuming certain sales targets were hit that triggered the increases and automatic extensions of the deal into 2025.
Therein lied the rub: Beckham said the deal was set up in such a way that it was impossible to hit the numbers needed to push the contract into its most lucrative years. Based on details included in the lawsuit, which was first reported by TMZ, the combined value of cash compensation and royalties under possible extensions on the contract was as much as $18.7 million between 2023 and 2025.
But instead, Beckham argues, Nike started concocting reasons not to pay him.
From TMZ Sports
OBJ says the relationship with Nike began to sour around March 2022 when he was due a payment of around $2.6 million. But, he claims, without any warning, the company withheld more than $2 million of the payment.
He later learned Nike withheld the money because the company said he committed footwear and glove violations when he altered his equipment towards the end of last season.
Beckham insists he didn’t commit the violations — he said he was forced to personally customize his cleats because Nike failed to give him cleats that matched the colors of his new team.
Beckham Tweeted about the lawsuit yesterday, while Nike has yet to publicly comment.
The wide receiver remains a free agent 10 weeks into what would be his ninth season in the NFL, although he’s discussed coming back to play at some point this year, if he can strike a deal with a team he’s interested in playing for. He was drafted by the New York Giants in 2014 and has also played for the Cleveland Browns and the Rams. His NFL contracts were worth a total of $82.9 million, according to Sportrac.
But at least some of that money went up in smoke after Beckham agreed to accept his entire 2021 compensation from the Rams in Bitcoin, the value of which has plummeted in 2022.