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Duke: No evidence Nike paid Williamson

A Duke-led investigation into whether former Blue Devils star Zion Williamson received improper benefits from Nike turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported Friday.Lawyer Michael Avenatti had alleged that Nike paid Williamson and other players to attend schools with which the shoe company had a relationship.”As soon as Duke was made aware of any allegation that might have affected Zion Williamson’s eligibility, we conducted a thorough and objective investigation which was directed by individuals outside the athletics department,” Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld wrote in a statement given to the News & Observer. “We found no evidence to support any allegation. Zion thrived as both a student and an athlete at Duke, and always conducted himself with integrity and purpose.”Avenatti responded to the newspaper that Duke’s investigators never contacted him.”I was never asked a single question,” he wrote in a statement given to the News & Observer. “I was never asked what information or documents that I was aware of. Who the hell conducted this investigation? Inspector Clouseau? The documents and the hard evidence do not lie. Zion Williamson was paid to attend Duke. Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) has made and facilitated payments to players for years. And when the truth comes out — and eventually it will — Coach K and Duke’s reputation will be forever and rightfully tarnished.”And if what I am saying is untrue, I challenge Coach K and Duke University to file a defamation lawsuit against me tomorrow and we can let the chips fall where they may.”