Tuesday update: Avenatti is not backing down.
If you know the name Michael Avenatti at all, it's as someone attempting to cast himself as a foil to Donald Trump. The Los Angeles-based attorney represented the porn star Stormy Daniels in her defamation lawsuit against the President; it was dismissed in October, and Daniels fired him earlier this month.
Still, Stormy v. Trump was major news over the past year, so much so that Avenatti announced on Aug. 9 he was "exploring a run for the presidency of the United States." That exploratory voyage lasted four months.
So, what does this have to do with anything? Why are you reading this right now?
On Monday, Avenatti announced he will hold a press conference to "disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by Nike that we have uncovered. This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball."
As you know, the ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball has centered exclusively on Adidas, while the bigger fish in the college basketball touch has continued to swim uninterrupted. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, LSU -- you name it, all are Nike clients.
So, a similar scandal at Nike would be absolutely massive news. Big if true, as they say.
But almost immediately after Avenatti revealed he had the goods on Nike, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York revealed they had the goods on Avenatti.
Before Avenatti can hold his press conference on Tuesday, the SDNY will hold its own on Monday afternoon. (Avenatti has also been charged Monday in a separate case for allegedly embezzling his client's money to pay his own expenses.)
While Avenatti may indeed be guilty of extortion, Nike may not exactly be in the clear moving forward, either.
We'll update this story as it continues to develop. I can't imagine how it could get any more insane than it already is, but this is America in 2019 so anything's possible.