Odell Beckham Jr. sues Nike, claims company withheld millions in contract dispute

Odell Beckham Jr. is suing Nike.

The free agent wide receiver announced on Twitter on Monday night that he is suing the apparel company, claiming that it hasn’t honored his endorsement deal.

“Being a Nike Athlete and Brand Icon was a dream I’ve had since being a young boy,” he wrote in a statement, in part. “I wanted to be the next Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the Nike Family.

“When Nike exercised its right of first refusal to match the Adidas offer and not only kept me as a Nike Athlete, but also made me one of their brand Icons – my dream had been fulfilled. 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’s initial deal with Nike expired in 2017, and he nearly switched to Adidas. Nike, however, matched Adidas’ deal to keep him — something he said he was happy about. Now, though, Beckham alleged in his lawsuit that “Nike is willfully withholding millions of dollars and inventing excuses not to pay him.”

The Adidas deal he was offered, Beckham Jr. said, was worth up to $47 million.

According to TMZ, Beckham said he was due a payment of about $2.6 million in March. Nike reportedly withheld more than $2 million of that payment over alleged glove and footwear violations during last season when he was with the Los Angeles Rams, something Beckham has denied. Instead, Beckham said his custom gloves have never been an issue, and that Nike failed to give him cleats that matched the Rams colors.

In total, Beckham said he has missed out on about $20 million. The way the deal was set up, he said, made it nearly impossible to trigger extensions and bonuses.

“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," he said. "We are held responsible for fulfilling our obligations under our contracts, but we also have to hold powerful companies like Nike accountable for honoring their commitments too.”

“I look forward to resolving this issue and hope we can start a real conversation about protecting athletes and their rights. This happens too often in the sports industry and it’s time for change.”

Beckham is currently a free agent this season and is finishing up his recovery after sustaining a left ACL tear late last season. He is expected to sign with a team before the end of the season.

Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. said he lost out of about $20 million in his deal with Nike. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) (Kevin Sabitus via Getty Images)