The bloom was off the rose with Michael Avenatti after a few months of good press, quite honestly. The signs were all there – a con artist believing his own hype, a bad man play-acting the idea of a woke feminist, the kind of guy who would blame every bad headline on a far-reaching conspiracy. For a while, I was sucked in, and I liked him. Then he started talking about running for president, remember that? And then a million other bad headlines happened, like when he seemingly encouraged a woman to perjure herself about Brett Kavanaugh, and when he seemed to be stealing money from Stormy Daniels’s legal defense fund. So messy. And now Avenatti has been indicted for extortion in federal court. Dude tried to extort NIKE.
Michael Avenatti has been arrested for allegedly trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike, the athletic apparel company. Federal prosecutors said Avenatti “devised a scheme to extort a company … by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to Avenatti” and his client, a former Amateur Athletic Union basketball coach, threatening to hold a press conference revealing “allegations of misconduct by employees of Nike,” the night before Nike’s quarterly earnings call last week and the start of the NCAA basketball championships.
Federal prosecutors also announced unrelated wire and bank fraud charges against Avenatti, for allegedly embezzling from a client to pay off his own debts. According to the criminal complaint in the Nike case, Avenatti and his unnamed client allegedly threatened the company’s lawyers over the phone last week: “I’ll go take $10 billion dollars off your client’s market cap. I’m not f–ing around,” Avenatti said. “And I’m not continuing to play games,” Avenatti added, according to the complaint. “You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem and it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing.”
On Monday, Avenatti himself tweeted that he would be holding a press conference this week uncovering a “basketball scandal” involving Nike. The athletic wear company has been accused of paying college basketball recruits with the goal of directing them to specific schools on multiple occasions, possibly what Avenatti was hinting at.
Much like Operation Varsity Blues, there’s an undercurrent to the story, an adjacent unspoken conversation we’re still not having, which is this: the NCAA is a multi-billion dollar enterprise built on slave labor. It would not surprise me at all if Nike is giving and receiving kickbacks. As soon as the NCAA allowed sportswear companies to come in and pay for the privilege of outfitting college athletes, of course those sportswear companies become complicit in the larger fundamental problem: these college athletes are slaves.
As for the charges against Avenatti… eh, they’re probably true. Dude had been playing with fire for so long, it was bound to happen. I haven’t checked, but I’m assuming the Deplorables are trying to gloat about this. Little do they know that most of us stopped caring about Avenatti a while ago. Also: Avenatti’s co-conspirator is apparently Mark Geragos, the famous “lawyer to the stars.” Geragos represents people like Chris Brown and Jussie Smollett. Sigh…
Photos courtesy of WENN.