NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. filed a lawsuit against Nike in Oregon on Monday, alleging that his former footwear sponsor breached its endorsement contract, costing him over $20 million in damages.
“Nike is refusing to honor the deal it agreed to,” the lawsuit reads. “Rather than continuing to pay the compensation and guaranteed royalties it is contractually obligated to pay Mr. Beckham, Nike is willfully withholding millions of dollars and inventing excuses not to pay him.”
Beckham is currently a free agent after winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams last season. He has suffered injuries in recent years, tearing his ACL in October 2020 and then leaving the 2022 Super Bowl early with another ACL injury.
Beckham is accusing Nike of altering his contract in a way that denied him extensions on his massive deal. He also says the brand didn’t follow through on obligations to create a range of products for him. Beckham’s lawsuit says he’d tried to amicably resolve his dispute with Nike, and he told Complex that he is disappointed to have had to file suit against the brand.
Beckham said in a statement that Nike re-signing him in 2017, in a deal then reported to be worth $29 million, represented the fulfillment of a dream for him. But, Beckham said, Nike did not satisfy its commitments in the deal. His statement positions the legal action as part of a broader movement to protect athletes and their rights.
“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,” Beckham 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.”
The public information that’s available on the dispute for now is one-sided: Nike has not submitted a response to the complaint in court at the time of publishing, and the brand generally does not comment on pending litigation. A Nike spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
The Odell Beckham Jr. lawsuit against Nike exposes figures and brand-athlete negotiations that are usually kept confidential. It provides rare insight into exact compensation structures for one of Nike’s biggest endorsers. Here, according to Beckham’s lawyers, is how his Nike deal broke down.