In a recent press release, Bode Miller is speaking out for the first time since suing HEAD Skis over his ability to compete in this year’s World Cup events on a brand other than the Austrian-based ski manufacturer.
Miller starts off the release saying, “as a result of HEAD issuing misleading press statements with false allegations and misinformation – it is important that I set the record straight for both my fans as well as for the entire ski industry.” After reading the press release, the record is still far from straight.
In fact, the press release admits that Miller did indeed sign a termination agreement that barred himself from competition for two seasons after a season ending injury slammed the doors on his 2015 circuit. While the document indicates that Bode must remain off the course for two years, his lawyer alleges that there is no language saying that he has to compete on HEAD Skis– confusion ensues.
Meanwhile, all that’s left are court appearances that will include a series of battles over state-based legal technicalities. As it stands, a California statute disallows any sponsor from preventing an athlete to compete for his or her own livelihood. HEAD Skis hopes to move the lawsuit to a state where legal precedent would give them the upper hand.
*All we can say is– put Bode back in the gate and “Make Downhill Ski Racing Great Again.”
Full Press Release
New York, NY – Bode Miller, the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier of all time, is speaking publicly for the first time regarding his pending litigation with HEAD USA.
“I have remained silent about the pending lawsuit with HEAD,” said Bode Miller, who has partnered with New York-based ski and snow sport company, Bomber, LLC. “However, as a result of HEAD issuing misleading press statements with false allegations and misinformation – it is important that I set the record straight for both my fans as well as for the entire ski industry.”
Prior to partnering with Bomber, Miller had a Sponsorship Agreement with HEAD USA until he retired following a season-ending injury. HEAD had Miller sign a termination agreement prohibiting him from racing in the World Championship and World Cup events for two calendar years from the date that the parties signed the agreement. Miller was paid nothing to enter into the termination agreement; it was not necessary for Miller to enter the termination agreement as his prior agreement with Head ended automatically as of April 2016, after Miller had announced his retirement in 2015. Miller stated, “HEAD has misled the public when it issued a press release stating that if I race again, ‘it has to be on HEAD equipment’. Our agreement is a simple one page document that anyone can read and it has no requirement that ‘if’ I race I must do so on HEAD equipment.”
“This is a nothing more than a case of corporate oppression against an individual ski racer and our start up ski company, Bomber. Throughout our work together, I had a great relationship with HEAD and made many friends there, I have great respect for the company and their equipment. However, when I retired I moved on and they should not seek to deprive me or my fans from my racing again. California state law clearly states that, with few exceptions, athletes may not be prevented from competing and earning their living. This is my last real chance to race competitively in the World Cup and World Championship, and it is disappointing to me that HEAD is trying to block me from doing that. I just want to ski.”
HEAD has been speaking publicly and issuing statements criticizing Miller’s testing of equipment that the industry has not accepted as standard; painting him in a negative light. “Throughout my career, I have been known for constantly testing and experimenting with new equipment and other innovative ways to maximize my performance. It has always been my desire to challenge the norms and create new and better equipment that caused me to invest in Bomber. From my first meeting with the owners, I realized we shared the same desire to challenge the industry to bring better products and the highest quality to the market. Bomber’s factory in Cossato, Italy allows me to bring my ideas to life. Ridiculing my attempts to disrupt the ski industry with innovative ideas is exactly the attitude that has stifled the industry’s development of new equipment and marketing. I’m not sure what HEAD is so afraid of, but I would much rather compete on the slopes than in the courtroom,” added Miller.
HEAD and Bomber will face off in Court on Monday where HEAD is seeking to win on a ‘legal technicality’. HEAD has tried to claim that California should not have jurisdiction over HEAD and seeks to relocate the trial from Miller’s home-state of California to another state that may have laws more favorable to them (even though the sell millions of dollars of products annually in California). Their hearing is scheduled for Monday, December 19, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Santa Ana, California.