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Avenatti claims that Nike is ready to pay Zion Williamson

A motion filed Wednesday in federal court on behalf of Attorney Michael Avenatti accused corruption and the use of payouts under the table to elite high school players within Nike's Elite Youth Basketball (EYBL) division.

The document alleges obvious willingness to pay Zion Williamson $ 35,000 and Romeo Langford $ 20,000 while still in high school. There is no indication that either the player has received the money or even the deals have been presented.

Avenatti was charged with blackmail earlier this year by the Attorney General in New York. The government was convinced that he had tried to "shake" Nike by exposing allegations of corruption.

Avenatti did not plead guilty and promised to vigorously defend and expose Nike. The request for rejection is a step towards that goal.


• "Nike had text messages, e-mail, and other documents from 2016 to 17 proving that Nike executives frequently made and hid payments for amateur basketball players and their families, and, Handler & # 39 ;. "

• Nike EYBL Manager Jamal James wrote in February 2017 to EYBL Director Carlton DeBose and Nike's Recruitment Coordinator John Stovall may be needed for the Zion / Romeo situation, as well as for the Money, which we will do now for the [redacted due to the player being a minor] kid in Michigan?

Stovall responded to the request:

Langford – 20

Zion – 35 plus

[Minor] – 15

DeBose replied, "He was ready to give Langford, Zion and [$ 2,990,563] the $ 70,000 Pay and they should remain "aggressive" while he was "creative" with the budget, the request is.

L "Stovall told James and DeBose that they had still not submitted our new offer to Williamson, but agreed that it was not a good idea to print it."

Williamson, a native of South Carolina, played grassroots ball for teams sponsored by several shoe companies, and then attended the Nike flagship school Duke. He was number 1 in the NBA draft of 2019 and signed an endorsement deal with Nike. Indiana-born Langford played under the umbrella of Adidas after the company agreed in winter 2017 to sponsor a father-run AAU program. He participated in the Indiana sponsored by Adidas and was the 14th choice in the 2019 NBA Draft.

• DeBose told Nico Harrison, Nike's vice president of North American Basketball Operations, that he [DeBose] was ready for those 38 out of 40 Teams in the EYBL had to pay a moderate to substantial ransom to families just to play in the EYBL. Of these 38 teams, these agreements are considered by the families and players as a contract.

• According to the application, DeBose also confirmed in a text message exchange with a co-trainer at the University of Kentucky that Nike payments to high school players were routed through at least ten different EYBL trainers.

• The motion states: "An EYBL coach was concerned about the fact that players and family members were being paid and he was not able to see how well Nike or the EYBL are doing. Some of us are found guilty by the association, others found guilty of not being monitored. "

•" Rachel Baker, a Nike leader who led the event strategy for the EYBL, expressed concern to a colleague about wearing. html She has brought a lot of money through airport security and pointed out that she was lying and saying I had just sold my car if it had been stopped, "the petition's first half of an NCAA tournament game said. (USAT) class = "JsEnabled_Op (0) JsEnabled_Bg (n) Trsdu (.42s) Bgr (nr) Bgz (cv) StretchedBox W (100%) H (100%) ie-7_H (a)" itemprop = "url" style = " background-image: url (https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/UA0EjRRHFPvcG7Zk.5NnEA–~A/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAw/https://media-mbst-pub-ue1.s3.amazonaws. com / Creatr-images / 2019-08 / f373e000-bee0-11e9-BDBB-2a89df3d6f8b); " src = "https://s.yimg.com/g/images/spaceball.gif" data-reactid = "53" />

Duke Blue Devils striker Zion Williamson (1) watches the first half of an NCAA tournament. (USAT)

In many cases details were not included in the application. Avenatti has additional information and records describing Nike's behavior.

The concept that shoe companies pay top athletes for playing at the base is nothing new. The motion further only shows that young basketball players have a high market value even before they arrive on a college campus. This is true even if the NCAA enforces amateur rules that prohibit players or their families from profiting from their talents.

The motion also suggests that nearly every elite high school basketball player could be paid or paid, if he so desires, to play basketball in the summer. (In selected cases, the NCAA Rules allow a shoe company to hire a parent to run and / or coach an AAU team that they finance, as long as it is a trusted employment situation.)

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors have convictions The claims in the motion raise questions as to why the recent basketball scam at Federal College focused almost exclusively on the behavior of Adidas' grassroots basketball, but not on its larger rival Nike. In this case, defenders argued that Adidas did not offer against itself. This application seems to confirm this.

Adidas manager James Gatto and Adidas consultant Merl Code were both found guilty in 2018 of deceiving colleges by transferring money to high school players, thus declaring them ineligible under NCAA rules , The appeal against their conviction was filed this week, repeating their argument that they were working on behalf of universities, not to cheat them.

None of the Nike employees named in the termination application has been arrested and all continue to work for the company.

Avenatti became nationally known for representing the adult actress Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had a relationship with Donald Trump. He became a violent political critic of Trump and a regular on cable television. In addition to the blackmail allegations in New York, he faces three dozen charges of fraud, perjury, nonpayment of taxes, and embezzlement in California. It has to do with decades, if not a life behind bars.

In this case, Avenatti negotiated on behalf of his whistleblower client, a dismissed EYBL trainer who knew about payments made by Nike to elite players, and their families, which mirrored acts by Adidas executives recently two federal trials and several guilty statements.

Earlier this year, Avenatti DeBose had been accused of "bribing over 100 high school players" step-by-step instructions for former EYBL coach Gary Franklin on how to manipulate the Nike bills to make money for the players to collect. Among the suspected athletes were, inter alia, the current NBA players Deandre Ayton and Bol Bol.

Nike responded by stating that he "firmly believes in ethical and fair play" and "would not respond to a person's allegations of federal allegations of fraud and extortion. "

Avenatti's part of his dismissal argument is that he does not blackmail Nike, but offers a comprehensive internal investigation of the EYBL so that the company can understand the extent of the corruption.

] The scheme in documents released on Wednesday and last spring seems to reflect the behavior that has put Adidas officials in trouble. The resulting three cases in the last two years ended with several convictions for criminal offenses and plea. Among those involved were four coaches from college basketball assistants, including former Arizona assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson, who sits in jail for three months, clarified that acts that lead to a player being sent to the university goes, its NCAA authority loses, is a federal crime.

The NCAA continues to strongly oppose players accepting compensation for their athletic talents, including winning their name, image, and likeness.

The allegations come at a sensitive time for college basketball. In the aftermath of the basketball scandal, the NCAA has wavered and has proposed only rule changes that have been largely ineffective and out of touch with reality.

The federal investigation revealed that breaking and averting NCAA rules have similarities and refinements. including some of the school's valued business partners, Nike and Adidas, who have signed contracts with NCAA schools worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Avenatti Motion

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