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Portrait of Bo Jackson

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Family can lift you up, but family can also bring you down. That’s the case with former two-sport superstar Bo Jackson, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner who was one of the commercial superstars of the ’90s before injuries forced him to retire.

Jackson, 61, was recently awarded a $21 million civil settlement after his niece and nephew were found to have coordinated a pattern of harassment, extortion and stalking in an attempt to obtain $20 million from the former athlete. He filed the suit last April.

Like Deion Sanders, Vincent “Bo” Jackson played both NFL football for the then Oakland Raiders and played in the major leagues for the California Angels, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals. His commercials for a Nike cross-trainer that started in 1989 are considered by Nike co-founder Phil Knight to be the second most important in the history of the brand, after Michael Jordan‘s.

“Unfortunately for those attempting to extort $20 million dollars from Jackson and his family, Bo still hits back hard,” Jackson’s lawyers Robert Ingram and David Conley said via a press release.

Jackson says the extortion attempts began in April of 2022 when Thomas Lee Anderson and his sister, Erica M. Anderson Ross, started to post veiled threats on social media, saying they would disclose private information, including medical records, texts, and photos that would paint Jackson in a negative light.

The siblings also threatened to disrupt a charity event Jackson was hosting near his hometown of Auburn, Ga., and hired an Atlanta-based attorney to try to secure the money.

Jackson was also granted a permanent order of protection, which means the siblings can’t come within 500 yards of Jackson and his family or contact them. The judgment was won by default when the siblings and their lawyer didn’t deny the allegations, agreed to a temporary restraining order, and stopped participating in the case after May 2023, per the AJC.

“Reasonable people would find defendants’ behavior extreme and outrageous,” Cobb County Superior Court Judge Jason D. Marbutt wrote. “The court saw evidence that an attorney representing defendants claimed his clients’ conduct would cease for the sum of $20 million.”

Jackson is one of 10 children born to A.D. Adams and Florence Bond Jackson in Bessemer, Ala. It has not been reported which sibling is the niece and nephew’s parent.

Bo Jackson Awarded $21M After Being Extorted & Stalked By Family  was originally published on