Odell Beckham Jr. is suing Nike Inc., claiming that the athletic powerhouse “failed to live up to its promises and refuses to abide by its contract.”
According to a lawsuit filed in an Oregon Circuit court on Nov. 14, Nike is “willfully withholding millions of dollars” from the longtime Nike athlete and NFL star, who has worked with the Swoosh since 2014. Beckham is seeking more than $20 million in damages.
“Unfortunately, Nike did not honor its commitments,” Beckham wrote in a statement on Twitter regarding the lawsuit. “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 obligation and promises.”
Nike did not immediately return FN’s request for comment.
According to the suit, Beckham initially agreed to an endorsement deal with Nike in 2014 and extended the contract in 2017, after Nike matched the terms of a competing $47 million deal from Adidas. However, Beckham claims that while Nike stated its competing offer would match all the terms of Adidas’ offer, Nike changed the language and terms of the agreement as it was finalized to keep guaranteed extensions for the contract based on “earned royalties” rather than “net sales.”
This change, the lawsuit said, “decreased the value of the contract to Mr. Beckham by tens of millions of dollars.” The suit also claimed these changes were made “in bad faith” because Nike did not put out enough royalty generating product in the market to hit the required amount for contract to extend. Nike also “intentionally depressed sales” of these products in the last fully guaranteed year of the contract as well, the suit stated.
In the complaint, Beckham claimed Nike failed to provide him a payment of $2 million in 2022 and did not follow through on its obligation to create certain player edition product offerings including some that would bear Beckham Jr.’s name.
“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,” Beckham said in the statement.