Nike said it was dropping a breach of contract lawsuit against Boris Berian to eliminate the “distraction” ahead of the Olympic Trials being held this week in Eugene, Oregon. The runner finalized his deal with New Balance and managed to qualify for the 800 meters at the Rio Olympics. Berian obtained a contract with Nike in June 2015 until the end of the year, which gave the company the right to match any subsequent offers. When the contract expired, Berian started wearing New Balance and intended to team up with the brand, but Nike filed a lawsuit alleging that Berian had declined what it regarded as a matching offer. Nike filed its lawsuit in Portland in March and obtained a temporary court order preventing Berian from wearing other brands until the court case. The lawsuit raised questions about Nike's attitude toward a relatively little-known athlete, and the use of so-called “reduction clauses” in endorsement deals – meaning that pay may be reduced when athletes don't meet specific competitive standards. The Wall Street Journal reports that the offer from Nike did match the base pay offered by New Balance but that its offer also contained such reduction clauses. Several other companies, from Brooks Running to Oiselle Running and New Balance, which wasn't involved in the lawsuit, filed depositions in Berian's support, suggesting that these clauses aren't standard in the industry. A judge was expected to rule on Nike's request to bar Berian from competing in any brand other than Nike just before the start of the trials. Berian will have to wear Nike apparel when running for the U.S. Olympic team anyway.

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