On Monday, November 14, 2022, Odell Beckham Jr. made an announcement that he would sue Nike. Nike has recently been at the forefront of social media due to the company dissociating itself with rapper, Kanye West. However, Beckham Jr.’s reason for suing was unrelated to the Kanye West issues.
Odell Beckham Jr. stated that he is suing Nike due to the company allegedly not honoring its obligations and promises – in essence, Beckham Jr. feels that he has valid breach of contract claims. Beckham Jr.’s claims arose from his opportunity to become a Nike Brand Icon. Beckham Jr. stated that he was able to become a Brand Icon when Nike exercised its right of first refusal to match an offer given by Adidas. At that point, Nike kept Beckham Jr. as a Nike Athlete and decided to make him a Brand Icon. However, in a Twitter post on Monday night, Beckham Jr. stated, “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 Jr. was unclear about exactly how Nike breached its end of the contract, though he was not unclear that he was the only non-breaching party.
The lawsuit alleges that Beckham Jr. tried to switch brands to Adidas after his original agreement with Nike expired. After the expiration of Nike’s original agreement, Adidas offered Beckham Jr. a deal worth $47 million in guaranteed extensions. Nike then exercised its contractual right to match the Adidas offer, also offering Beckham Jr. a deal worth $47 million in guaranteed extensions. Now, the lawsuit alleges, Nike is refusing to honor the deal it agreed to. It is alleged that Nike is no longer paying Odell Beckham Jr. any compensation or royalties that were guaranteed by a contract entered into between the two parties, and that Nike made it “nearly impossible for him to trigger very valuable extensions of the deal.” How much is Beckham Jr. now suing Nike for? A whopping $20 million! The damages amount didn’t just come about overnight. Beckham Jr. is alleging that Nike exercised its right of first refusal back in 2017 but didn’t cease making payments to Beckham Jr. until the beginning of 2022.
Nike, on the other hand, says that its reason for not upholding the deal is because Beckham Jr. didn’t uphold his end of the deal either. Nike alleges that Beckham Jr. engaged in technical violations of his agreement by wearing a particular type of footwear and gloves during his games that was not allowed in the contract. Whatever the true reason is for Nike discontinuing payment to Odell Beckham Jr., it will be interesting to see if Beckham Jr. can even stand in a fight against a large, renowned brand such as Nike.