He also posted cryptic warnings to other athletes:

Public Service Announcement to all collegiate athletes considering running professionally: DO NOT sign a contract with an AGENT or SPONSOR without fully understanding the terms of the agreement. The wording of many contracts is intentionally vague and rarely in the best interest of the ATHLETE. Do not be embarrassed by not understanding what a contract is asking of you. This is done intentionally in an effort to protect the COMPANY at the expense of the ATHLETE. Be careful. Protect yourself. You will be glad you did.

Additionally, if you decide on an ATHLETE REPRESENTATIVE or “AGENT”, make sure they can deliver on their promises (contract value, terms, duration, etc.) before you sign a contract with them. Make sure the contract you sign with an AGENT does not allow them to abandon you should a dispute arise between ATHLETE and SPONSOR. I highly recommend hiring a lawyer, independent of your agent, to read over ANY contract before you sign it. This is an investment in yourself and protects you in the future. If a company values you as an endorser of their product, they will work with you on the terms of an agreement. Do not accept “INDUSTRY STANDARD” or “STATUS QUO”. This is terminology used to take rights away from the ATHLETE.


Leer said Nike exercised every possible reduction of his compensation in early 2016, but refused to release him from the contract. He knew that continuing to fight the Nike legal department or, even worse, going to court, would eventually bankrupt him. But in May, something changed.

“Finally—I don’t know whether it was Boris’s case or that people starting taking notice of my social media posts—but in the second week of May I got an email from Nike legal department saying they were terminating my contract. It was on their terms—they were firing me rather than me quitting.”


Free at last, Leer contacted some friends at Brooks who sent him non-swooshed clothing, but he’s not yet decided who he’ll run for or what logo he’ll be sporting at the U.S. Olympic Trials, where he’ll try for the U.S. team at 1500 meters. One decision he has made? A new agent—Hawi Keflezighi, the same guy that went to bat for Boris Berian against Nike.

“Hawi believes strongly in athletes’ rights,” said Leer. “And he’s a trained lawyer. He’s one of the only agents capable of sifting through the bullshit of these contracts. Nike will work with any agent if they really want the athlete, but it’s up to Hawi if he wants to work with Nike.”