Duke 'Looking Into' Michael Avenatti's Claim Nike Paid Zion Williamson's Mother

Apr 09, 2019, 01:07
Duke 'Looking Into' Michael Avenatti's Claim Nike Paid Zion Williamson's Mother

Avenatti, the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels, and who was arrested after trying to shakedown Nike for $20 million alleges Williamson's mother Sharonda Sampson was paid by Nike to have her son attend Duke, a Nike school. Avenatti has stated that Ayton - last year's No. 1 overall draft pick and now a Puma ambassador - received money from Nike while he was still in high school.

Despite facing federal charges, Avenatti continues to be aggressive in his public position against Nike.

One specific allegation was illicit payments made to the mother of basketball phenomenon Zion Williamson who had played for Nike-sponsored Duke.

Avenatti tweeted Friday night that Nike paid Williamson's mom, Sharonda Sampson, for "bogus consulting services" as part of a "bribe" to get the Williamson to attend Duke.

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The post comes a day after Avenatti threatened to release more evidence related to the scandal.

"Avenatti used illegal and extortionate threats for the objective of obtaining millions of dollars in payments from a public company", Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, told the New York Times.

"If I get hit by a bus today, this story will go on, and Nike's corruption eventually will be exposed and the world will know what really happened here", he continued.

Avenatti tweeted that DeBose "has bribed over 100 high school players over the past four years" to play at schools affiliated with Nike. "Just Do It Nike!". Neither Williamson nor Duke are mentioned in any of the documents, which instead focus on former Arizona player DeAndre Ayton and former OR player Bol Bol, among others.

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"We are aware of the allegation and, as we would with any compliance matter, are looking into it", Duke's director of athletics, Kevin White, wrote in a statement to the university's independent news outlet, The Chronicle. "Every student athlete at Duke is reviewed to ensure their eligibility".

He's going to declare for the NBA Draft, so his college eligibility isn't in jeopardy, and there's no law against his mom getting paid by Nike, so she's not going to jail.

This all comes after Avenatti, who has gained widespread notoriety in the past year for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen, was arrested and charged in NY in March for trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike by threatening to take his allegations public.

The documents include what appear to be bank statements, invoices and text messages.

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Avenatti dared Nike to deny his allegations wrong in his tweets on Friday and Saturday.