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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Fanatics Sues Marvin Harrison Jr., Says He Leaked ‘Misleading’ Info to ESPN

  • The Arizona Cardinals rookie is on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court.
  • Fanatics says the two have a binding agreement, while Harrison’s side says they don’t have a contract.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fanatics is suing Arizona Cardinals rookie Marvin Harrison Jr. and his personal apparel company for breaching a contract and saying their agreement doesn’t exist.

The suit, filed Saturday in New York Supreme Court, says in May 2023, that Harrison signed a “fully binding and enforceable contract,” which the company calls a “binding term sheet.” Term sheets are essentially documents where two parties agree to agree, but they are not the formal deal. However, courts can enforce them in certain instances; the New York Court of Appeals has ruled in the past that contract terms don’t have to be “fixed with absolute certainty” to be enforceable.

This is all important because Harrison and his father, Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison Sr., have held that the player does not have a contract with Fanatics, the suit claims. The elder asked for a copy of the term sheet in April, then told the company that the two sides do not have an agreement, according to the suit. Shortly afterward, ESPN’s Pat McAfee said on his show that Harrison doesn’t have a deal with Fanatics, and that tumult is why Harrison has yet to sign the NFL Players Association’s group licensing agreement, multiple clips of which the player reposted on social media. Fanatics claims in the suit that Harrison revealed confidential information to ESPN and reposting the videos, which it calls “misleading.”

While financial details of the contract have been redacted, ESPN reported it was worth at least $1 million for autographs, signed trading cards, apparel worn in games, and other marketing efforts. The home page for Harrison’s apparel company, The Official Harrison Collection, states that it is the “ONLY website to purchase signed Harrison memorabilia.”

The suit also claims Harrison has tried to get Fanatics to match offers of competitors, but he wouldn’t show the company those offers.

A Fanatics spokesperson said in a statement to Front Office Sports that Harrison signed a “lucrative deal with phenomenal incentives,” which he has since publicly rejected while trying to pressure the company to pay him “vastly more money.

“Because we value our relationships with athletes, we have tried repeatedly to communicate and work with him to perform his contract, to which he has refused at every turn,” the spokesperson said. “Among our thousands of athlete partners, this is the first time we’ve encountered a situation like this and Fanatics, unfortunately, had no other option than formal litigation for the enforcement of its contractual rights. Even so, it is still our preference that Marvin Harrison Jr. honors his contract, but if he will not, Fanatics will ask the court to address his refusal.”

Harrison did not immediately respond to a request for comment. After three seasons at Ohio State, the wide receiver went No. 4 to the Cardinals in April’s NFL draft.

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