Odell Beckham Jr., most recently a wide receiver for the Super Bowl LVI winning Los Angeles Rams, has recently filed a lawsuit against Nike over claims that the sportswear behemoth didn’t fulfill its contractural obligations.
Reported by TMZ Sports, the news became public on Monday afternoon, with copies of the Super Bowl champion making the rounds across the internet. According to Beckham Jr., widely referred to as “OBJ,” his relationship with the Swoosh began to sour in March after more than $2 million were withheld from him. Nike reportedly cited a number of violations as to why it didn’t pay out OBJ, namely footwear and glove alterations not approved by the brand. The Baton Rogue, Louisiana-native shared that he was forced to customize his football cleats after his sponsor failed to provide him with new gear to abide by his team’s colors; as for the personalized gloves, OBJ has reason to believe Nike is simply making excuses given how it hadn’t had an issue with him in the past.
“Being a Nike Athlete and Brand Icon was a dream I’ve had since being a young boy,” Beckham Jr. said in a public statement. “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.”
The 30-year-old claims Nike suppressed sales of his products — footwear, apparel, gloves, hardgoods — that would’ve triggered a contract extension. Ultimately, OBJ reportedly missed out on over $20 million, citing that the adidas deal that was offered to him in 2017 was worth $47 million in guaranteed extensions.
OBJ hopes to resolve the issue with Nike, but is using his situation to fight for athletes’ rights.
“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. 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.”
Lead image: A still from Nike advertisement, 2016