Former Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti on Saturday released documents he claims show that Nike paid money to amateur basketball players Bol Bol, Deandre Ayton and Brandon McCoy.
“If I’m lying or the docs are not legit, I challenge @nike to issue a stmt claiming no bribes were ever paid. Just Do It Nike!” Avenatti wrote on a Twitter, in a post that linked to the documents.
2/2 - Nike should be criminally indicted on well over 200 counts and should also explain why they misled their investors/the SEC. If I'm lying or the docs are not legit, I challenge @nike to issue a stmt claiming no bribes were ever paid. Just Do It Nike!https://t.co/4gi8MQRcQB— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 6, 2019
Avenatti, who has been charged with trying to extort $20 million from Nike, also alleged on Twitter that Nike paid Zion Williamson’s mother for what he called “bogus” services in 2016 and 2017 in an effort to get Zion to commit to Duke.
According to ESPN, Duke athletic director Kevin White said in a statement that the school is aware of the allegation and is looking into it. “Duke is fully committed to compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations," White wrote. "Every student athlete at Duke is reviewed to ensure their eligibility. With regard to men's basketball: all recruits and their families are thoroughly vetted by Duke in collaboration with the NCAA through the Eligibility Center's amateurism certification process."
For its part, Nike has declined to answer written questions from The Oregonian about whether its employees directed payments to players. “Nike will not respond to the allegations of an individual facing federal charges of fraud and extortion and aid in his disgraceful attempts to distract from the athletes on the court at the height of the tournament," the company said in a statement to The Oregonian. "Nike will continue its cooperation with the government’s investigation into grassroots basketball and the related extortion case.”
Avenatti was charged in New York last week with extortion, as well as bank and wire fraud. He was also charged with bank and wire fraud in California. He has since said that he is innocent.