New Court Documents Reveal Zion Williamson Received Money & Hotel Accommodations From Adidas
New court documents bring light to alleged bribery done by Adidas involving New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson during his time at Duke University.
The documents are part of an ongoing civil lawsuit between Adidas and former college player Brian Bowen Jr., who alleges that he lost his NCAA eligibility in 2017 because of Adidas’ alleged money laundering, fraud and bribery, which came to light after an investigation by the FBI. Bowen attended Louisville and South Carolina, but never played college basketball because his father, without Bowen’s knowledge, accepted $100,000 from Adidas for his son to go to Louisville.
A sworn deposition taken on March 23 by attorneys for Bowen allege that in 2016, Daniel Cutler helped arrange flights and hotel accommodations for Williamson and his family. These accommodations apparently allowed the Williamson family to attend an Adidas event while Zion was still in high school. Cutler had worked with Chris Rivers, the former Adidas management official.
In a letter filed with the court last month, Adidas attorney William Taft wrote, “Rivers may have transferred $3,000 per month to the Williamson family for an unspecified period of time” and “Rivers may have transferred $1,000 to the Williamson family.”
“Adidas does not know the specific purpose of these transfers,” Taft wrote.
The letter, which was a part of the new filings obtained by The News & Observer, lists nine “potential transfers” made to Williamson’s stepfather from a company executive that totaled $5,474. Furthermore, a former consultant to Cutler, said in a sworn statement included in those filings that the company provided four airline tickets for Williamson’s family before he enrolled at Duke. In addition, the consultant alleges that hotel arrangements were made for the Williamson family.
Messages between Cutler and Olivia Guidera, then an Adidas marketing assistant manager, detailed purchasing flights for Williamson and his family in July 2016. “The only options for the young kid and mom are in Delta Comfort for both,” Guidera wrote to Cutler. “And for the dad and Zion, they only have middle seats, so you might need to put them all in Delta Comfort.”
The allegations that Williamson received payments from Adidas are not new. However, this is the first time that this evidence has surfaced.