The 2019 college basketball season has been filled with scandals. From Arizona to LSU to adidas, some of the biggest names in college basketball have had to deal with a ton of media backlash. Nike is caught up in the middle of a scandal as well, due to celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti.
According to TMZ, Avenatti was arrested for attempting to extort $20 million from Nike by federal agents.
The celebrity lawyer represents a youth AAU coach and he was using his client’s evidence to get money from the apparel company. Avenatti claims that the coach had evidence of a Nike representative allegedly hiding illegal payments that the company was paying to a top high school player’s family. He allegedly tried negotiating with Nike to pay him $22.5 dollars for him to say silent about the matter.
Avenatti was Stormy Daniels’ attorney in her case against Donald Trump. He believed that he could use his experience in that case to shake down Nike.
“I’ll take $10 billion of your client’s market cap… I’m not f-king around,” Avenatti allegedly said to Nike’s lawyers. Avenatti also told Nike that the company had to pay him by Monday, March 25 or the deal was off.
Nike did not give Avenatti any money, which led to the lawyer getting arrested for extortion. That is not the only charge that he is facing as Avenatti also faces bank and wire fraud charges. Avenatti’s charges come at an intriguing time, as he decided to make a statement about it right around the time that he got arrested.
The NCAA Tournament is in full swing, which is heavily influenced by Nike. Texas Tech and Auburn are the only schools left in the 2019 NCAA Tournament that is not sponsored by either Nike or Air Jordan.