In a statement posted on social media On Monday night, the freelance catcher called the opportunity to be a brand icon at Nike a “dream” but was “extremely disappointed” with the shoe company’s decision not to honor its “obligations and promises”.
“Being a Nike athlete and brand icon was a dream I had since I was a young boy. I wanted to be the next Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the Nike family,” said Beckham wrote in a statement posted on Twitter: “When Nike exercised their right of first refusal to match Adidas’ offer and not only kept me as a Nike athlete, but also made me the one of their brand icons – my dream had come true.
“Unfortunately, Nike has not honored its commitments. Throughout our partnership, I have kept my promise and fulfilled my obligations to the brand. I am extremely disappointed that I had to take these steps to ensure that Nike meets its obligations and promises.
Excerpts from the trial shared on Twitter by Complexby Brendan Dunne said Beckham attempted to rebrand to Adidas after his original deal with Nike expired. Nike exercised its “contractual right to match Adidas’ offer,” but now refuses “to honor the agreement reached,” according to the lawsuit.
“Rather than continuing to pay the compensation and guaranteed royalties it is contractually obligated to pay Mr. Beckham, Nike is deliberately withholding millions of dollars and making excuses not to pay him,” the lawsuit states, by Dunne.
Beckham first signed with Nike in 2014 after being selected in the first round of that year’s draft by the Giants. The lawsuit says the original offer paid the recipient $45,000 a year for three years, along with an agreement to pay Beckham a percentage of net sales of all Nike products with his approval. The deal also gave Nike a right of first refusal, allowing the company to match a competitor’s offer.
In 2017, with Nike’s original deal expiring, Adidas offered Beckham a deal worth up to $47 million in guaranteed extensions. Nike exercised their right of first refusal and matched the offer, but the 30-year-old alleges the structure of the new contract made it “almost impossible for him to trigger very valuable extensions to the deal”.
Beckham, who played for the Rams last season, said he hopes to set a precedent with the lawsuit that will help hold Nike “accountable for delivering on its commitments”.
“Today I am taking a stand not just for myself, but to set a precedent for all athletes who have dedicated their lives to the sport they love – especially those who lack the means to defend themselves. We are held accountable for meeting our obligations under our contracts, but we also have to hold powerful companies like Nike accountable for meeting their commitments as well.
“I look forward to resolving this issue and hope we can start a real conversation about protecting athletes and their rights. It happens too often in the sports industry and it’s time for a change.
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