It’s always a little strange to see a professional athlete sued by a business for some amount of money that is small in relation to that player’s salary.
It’s even stranger when that athlete plays for the San Antonio Spurs, a franchise that has a reputation of employing players that typically stay away from this kind of trouble.
A judge ruled that DeJuan Blair must pay over $53,000 to a jewelry store that gave him merchandise on credit more than three years ago, according to a report in the San Antonio Express-News.
Blair hasn’t responded at all, and is scheduled to be deposed next week. If he fails to show up at that point, a warrant could be issued for his arrest.
The items Blair was alleged to receive are as follows:
The store owner said in an affidavit that Blair failed to pay for various items he chose during eight visits between March 10, 2010, and April 10, 2010. One visit topped $11,000 and included a $4,000 diamond watch and $3,000 diamond ring, according to the receipts filed with the lawsuit.
On another visit, Blair picked out more than $12,000 worth of merchandise, including what may be a watch but was only described as a “men’s Gucci with Dia” for $5,946, according to the documents. In all, he owes a total of $53,032.26.
The story gets even weirder.
In addition to Blair being non-responsive, the Spurs organization has been subpoenaed, and hasn’t provided all of the requested documentation.
Cappuccio said the Spurs organization also was served with a subpoena in the case and has not turned over all the responsive documents.
He said that what documents the organization did provide showed Blair appeared to use the jewelry as collateral on a $30,000 loan the Spurs organization gave him.
Cappuccio called the Spurs “uncooperative.” He said the firm is prepared to go to a judge to compel them to hand over documents.
The “$30,000 loan part” seems unnecessary, though it’s unclear if this is a common practice in NBA circles; for example, it could have been an advance on pay which is guaranteed contractually, which seems perfectly reasonable.
Whatever the reason for the legal action, here’s hoping it gets resolved soon. It’s embarrassing for Blair and the Spurs that it’s gotten this far through the legal process with neither player nor team bothering to respond.