Zion Williamson Attorneys Files Order to Block Eligibility Inquiry in Lawsuit

Attorneys for Zion Williamson Files Protective Order to Block Eligibility Inquiry in Lawsuit

Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson, Duke Men's Basketball NCAA (Wikimedia Commons)

New Orleans’ Pelicans basketball player Zion Williamson has had his attorneys file a protective order to block his former marketing agent’s inquiry into illegal benefits he is accused of accepting while he was a student at Duke University, according to Sports Illustrated.

Daniel Wallach of The Athletic has revealed on his Twitter account that Williamson’s lawyers are calling the requests from Gina Ford “invasive” and “irrelevant.”

The former Blue Devil and current Pelicans player Williamson is being sued by his former marketing agent, who has requested that he admit to receiving “money, benefits, favors or other things of value” to attend Duke University last year.

Ford, the president of Prime Marketing Sports, has served requests for admissions asking that basketball phenom Williamson admit that he has received items that would disqualify him from playing collegiate sports while he attended Duke.

The 19-year-old NBA player is being sued by Prime Marketing Sports after he left the marketing company to sign with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Williamson’s original deal with Prime Marketing Sports required him to remain with them for five years. He ended up signing with CAA less than a month after signing the deal with Prime Marketing Sports. Williamson’s attorneys have argued that his contract with Prime Marketing Sports was unlawful under North Carolina law. They claimed the contract was in violation of North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act because Prime Marketing Sports is not certified by the NBA Players Association nor a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida.

In a filing with Miami-Dade County court last week, Ford’s attorneys have asked Williamson to admit under oath that the statements listed below were true:

• Sharonda Sampson, Williamson’s mother, and Lee Anderson, his stepfather, “demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to attend Duke University to play basketball.”

• Sampson and Anderson “demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons on behalf of Nike (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to attend Duke University to play basketball.”

• Sampson and Anderson “demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to wear Adidas shoes” and to “influence [Williamson] to attend a college that endorsed Adidas shoes.”

• Before becoming a student at Duke, Williamson “or person(s) acting on [his] behalf (including but not limited to Sharonda Sampson and Lee Anderson) accepted benefits from a NCAA-certified agent that are not expressly permitted by the NCAA legislation” between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 14, 2019.

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