Today, the McLeod Law Group filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Brian Bowen II against Adidas America, Inc. and its associates James Gatto, Merl Code, Christian Dawkins, Munish Sood, Thomas Gassnola and Christopher Rivers, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Brian Bowen II was a McDonald’s All-American and consensus five-star basketball player who in June 2017 committed to play at the University of Louisville. Unbeknownst to Brian, he had been targeted by Adidas and its associates as a must-get for Adidas’ flagship university. On September 26, 2017, before Brian played his first game for the Cardinals, Adidas’ bribery scheme was exposed by the U.S. Department of Justice when it announced criminal charges against Adidas marketing executives and their co-conspirators.
Adidas spearheaded this criminal racketeering enterprise to coerce the families of top high school basketball players to attend colleges and universities under contract with Adidas to boost the corporate brand and increase profits in the ultra-competitive $25 billion athletic shoe market. Once student athletes, such as Brian, commit to an Adidas sponsored university, they are duty bound to wear Adidas gear and allow Adidas to market their image and likeness for corporate profit.
Because of this criminal scheme and through no fault of their own, Brian and other student athletes lost their eligibility to play college basketball at any school, lost their eligibility to receive financial aid necessary to continue their education, and lost the singular opportunity to develop physically and athletically into NBA draft picks at an elite NCAA Division I basketball program.
Upon filing the lawsuit, lead attorney Mullins McLeod stated: “Adidas has thus far infiltrated college basketball with complete impunity. It is now time for them to answer for what they have done and to suffer the consequences of their corporate misconduct. Brian is an exceptional young man who is determined to right this wrong and to do his part to help free other student athletes from corporate corruption that has no place in college basketball.”
Attorney Jason A. Setchen of Miami-based AthleteDefender.com, who represented Brian throughout his proceedings with the University of Louisville and the NCAA, added “I have always felt that Brian was the true victim of everything that transpired with Adidas. Brian has been severely damaged due to the actions of others and treated unjustly. I am happy that the McLeod Law Group has undertaken the pursuit of justice on behalf of Brian. I look forward to working in conjunction with them to ensure that Brian finally gets his day in court.”Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And Like ZAGS on Facebook