Tue, 07 Jul 2020

Williamson granted stay in improper-benefits case

Field Level Media
05 Jun 2020, 13:25 GMT+10

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson won a temporary reprieve Thursday night when a Florida appeals court granted the former Duke star a stay from having to answer questions regarding an improper-benefits case.

This decision comes two days after 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida Judge David Miller ruled that Williamson must answer questions under oath regarding his eligibility to play for Duke during the 2018-19 season.

Williamson's legal team appealed, and on Thursday, the Third District Court of Appeal granted an urgent motion to stay those proceedings, according to multiple reports citing court documents. Now, plaintiff Gina Ford's legal team has 10 days to file a response.

Ford filed a $100 million lawsuit against Williamson and his new agency, Creative Artists Agency, on the day he was drafted first overall into the NBA last June, citing breach of contract with her agency, Prime Sports Marketing.

Last month, Ford's attorneys filed requests for Williamson to admit that his mother, Sharonda Sampson, and stepfather, Lee Anderson, demanded and received money, gifts and other illegal benefits from Adidas, Nike and Duke during a recruitment that led to his signing with the Blue Devils.

Williamson left Prime Sports in May 2019, about one month after signing with the agency, claiming the contract was invalid under North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agent Act because Ford was not a registered agent in the state. Williamson then signed with CAA a few weeks before he was drafted.

The recruitment of Williamson arose during the 2018 college basketball corruption trial in New York when a federal wiretap caught former Adidas consultant Merl Code and Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend discussing what it would take for Williamson to select the Jayhawks.

Duke has stated that it consulted the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference to confirm Williamson's eligibility.

Williamson, who turns 20 in July, averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games with the Pelicans before the season was paused in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his lone season with the Blue Devils, Williams was the consensus national player of the year after averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocked shots per game.

--Field Level Media

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