Some big news came out this weekend regarding former Duke star Zion Williamson and lawsuits with his former marketing agent Gina Ford. She recently filed requests for him to admit some pretty damaging claims that have to do with his time at Duke. This could potentially have a massive impact on both Williamson and Duke. With this now being a pretty popular topic of conversation, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant gave his opinions on the situation.
Williamson is in the middle of a big lawsuit
In April 2019, Zion Williamson signed a five-year deal with Prime Sports Marketing. This came just a few days after Williamson declared for the 2019 NBA draft, according to Sports Illustrated. Prime Sports Marketing president Gina Ford was then Williamson’s marketing representative and represented him in negotiations for endorsements. She had nothing to do with his actual NBA contracts.
At the end of May, though, Williamson fired Ford. He then replaced her with agents from CAA, according to Sports Illustrated. Ford, however, claimed that their contract could only be terminated “with cause,” and that she made no mistakes which would have warranted that. She believes that Williamson could not have breached their contract without paying damages. Williamson, however, claims that the contract was invalid from the beginning. This is because it did not warn him that he would forfeit any remaining NCAA eligibility by signing the contract, which is required by North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act (UAAA), according to Sports illustrated.
Williamson then sued Ford in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, according to Sports Illustrated. Ford has also sued him and a group at CAA for over $100 million in Miami-Dade County Circuit. She also recently countersued him in North Carolina federal court and demanded that he pays her at least $100 million in damages, according to Sports Illustrated.
Being asked to admit his parents received money and gifts from Duke
Ford’s attorneys recently filed a request of admissions to Williamson. This was first reported by The Athletic’s legal analyst attorney Daniel Wallach, according to Sports Illustrated. The request is supposed to, essentially, prove that Williamson was not owed protection under the UAAA when he signed with Prime Sports Marketing.
The requests, according to Sports Illustrated, ask Williamson to admit that he knew: His mother and stepfather demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from people who were acting on behalf of Duke to influence him to go to Duke; that his mother and stepfather demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from people acting on behalf of Nike to influence him to go to Duke; that his mother and stepfather demanded and received gifts, money, and economic benefits from people acting on behalf of Adidas to influence him to wear the company’s shoes. It also asks him to admit that he accepted benefits from an NCAA-certified agent that were not permitted by NCAA legislation.
This could ultimately have a huge ripple effect if Williamson admits that these claims are true.
Dez Bryant gave his opinions on the Williamson news
This is, obviously, a pretty big news story. So, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant weighed in on the topic via Twitter. You can see what he had to say above.
Williamson is not the only person in the sports world that Ford has negotiated contracts for. She also negotiated for sprinter Usain Bolt and Kevin Durant’s mother, Wanda Durant, according to Sports Illustrated. However, Bryant might have a point in saying that big prospects will want to stay away from Ford from now on. That’ll especially be the case if this lawsuit negatively impacts Williamson in a massive way.
No matter what happens, though, Bryant is also 100% right about something else. Zion Williamson is a legend in the making. Even if these lawsuits hurt him, he still has a chance to be a very, very successful NBA star.