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NBA player responds to wrongful termination claim

NBA player Michael Beasley has filed a counter-suit against his former agent and coach in response to an alleged accusation that he fired his agent in order to avoid paying commission on a deal.

The agent accused Beasley of wrongful termination, claiming that he negotiated a lucrative contract and endorsement offer for the player, only to be fired and replaced by another agent. After his termination, he claims Beasley signed a deal that was nearly identical to the one the agent set up and filed a lawsuit against his former client.

Beasley recently refuted these claims in a lawsuit filed with a Maryland court in which he explains he fired his agent because he felt betrayed by the man. He says the man provided his mother with cash during his time in college, which violates federal and collegiate athletics regulations. He also accuses the agent of conspiring to build a relationship with him from a young age in order to sign him as a client and profit from him once he entered the NBA.

The suit also names a former coach as a defendant, whom Beasley says was a co-conspirator in the plan, as he allegedly pushed Beasley to sign with the agent once he was drafted. Several months after beginning professional play, he discovered the agent had been providing his mother with money without his knowledge.

Both the agent and coach have defended themselves, saying they only wished to provide Beasley with opportunities to make use of his talents. They claim that without them, Beasley's mother would have been unable to pay for her son to play on the coach's AAU team where Beasley began his career.

Although there are laws that prohibit employers from firing employees based on certain criteria, state laws often give employers a great deal of leeway in making the decision to fire an employee. Employers who are faced with wrongful termination claims can often benefit from a discussion with an experienced employment litigation attorney.

Source: Business Week, "Beasley suit alleges improper benefits at K-State," Jon Krawczynski, Oct. 28, 2011

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