Duke looking into allegation against Zion Williamson


Federal prosecutors in California and NY allege that Avenatti threatened to expose misconduct by Nike employees regarding NCAA rules violations involving a Nike-sponsored AAU team unless he received pay.

Avenatti's claim is that Nike paid Williamson's mother as a bribe in order to steer him to attending Duke, which has a sponsorship deal with Nike.

This weekend, attorney Michael Avenatti continued to accuse Nike of making payments to the families of top high school basketball players, taking to Twitter to release documents that he believes support his claim.

Messages made by USA TODAY Sports to Nike were not immediately returned on Saturday.

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According to a transcript of the call, which was read in court by defense attorney Mark Moore, Townsend told Code, "Hey, but between me and you, you know, [Anderson] asked about some stuff. Nike bribed over 100 players as part of their scheme and purposely hid the payments from the NCAA & fed investigator".

Avenatti has promised there's more to come, and Friday night he tweeted about allegedly sham "consulting services" for Nike by the mother of Duke freshman Zion Williamson.

'Nike will continue its cooperation with the government's investigation into grassroots basketball and the related extortion case, ' the statement continued.

In a public statement, Duke said they were "looking into it" and added, "Duke is fully committed to compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations".

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"For all of Nike's puffery", he said, "they have yet to claim that what I'm saying is untrue or that these documents are bogus, and the reason is they can't". "Every student athlete at Duke is reviewed to ensure their eligibility".

Avenatti, best known for representing former porn star Stormy Daniels in a failed defamation suit against President Donald Trump, has also alleged Nike paid multiple prep basketball stars such as Deandre Ayton and Bol Bol.

Williamson ended up choosing to attend Duke for college. He has denied the extortion attempt and said he was seeking to uncover corruption within Nike.

Williamson, the projected No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, accepted two national player of the year awards on Friday at the Final Four - for the Associated Press and U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and said it felt bittersweet to accept those as "team awards" but not be playing in the national semifinal game Saturday.

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Michael Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer who gained notoriety over the a year ago for his involvement in adult film actress Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Donald Trump, has spent his time recently alleging Nike of corruption.