The Zion Williamson trial continues to ramp up. After his request for a stay on discovery was declined, there’s a chance that Williamson will have to take the stand in the legal issue with his former marketing company.
The former Duke superstar was briefly represented by Prime Sports Marketing last year, before breaking a contract after saying that the company did not afford him protections under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act (UAAA). He went on to sign with CAA. Prime Sports Marketing and agent Gina Ford countersued Williamson over his breach of contract.
Ford’s legal team is attempting to make the New Orleans Pelican forward testify under oath. In court documents, it is alleging that Williamson and his family were given impermissible benefits to attend Duke. Public sentiments about paying college players is shifting, but Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke basketball program has a squeaky clean reputation that could be under assault with this lawsuit.
Among the evidence pointed to in Ford’s filing pertains to Williamson’s parents’ living situation. They allegedly went from renting a home for under $900 a month to one valued at $950,000 for just under $5,000 a month when he chose to go to Duke. From the release:
Gina Ford’s attorneys also point to the improved housing situation of Zion Williamson’s parents as evidence that he was paid to attend Duke:
Pre-Duke: $895 monthly rental in South Carolina:
At Duke: resided in NC property valued at $950.000 (with listed monthly rent at $4,995) pic.twitter.com/WSr4Zu48ky
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) June 10, 2020
“This could have incredible implications when it comes to Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, or anybody, maybe not Coach K. Maybe it’s other people associated with Duke’s program,” Stephen A. Smith said on First Take, of the lawsuit last week.
“If you’re accusing the man of taking improper and illegal benefits—and the key words here was before and while he was at Duke—now Duke may have a problem depending on what level of testimony is given here.”
This lawsuit could have significant ramifications for all involved, if Zion Williamson has to take the stand under oath. The team is expected to appeal that recent decision by the judge presiding over the case.