Darren Rovell v John Sharp (case dismissed)

In 2013 ESPN’s Outside The Lines published an article that lead with: “The NCAA is investigating whether Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia”.

Written at least in part by Darren Rovell the article discusses the NCAA allegations and discusses three anonymous sources who had confirmed that Manziel had been paid for autographs. The NCAA investigation went nowhere. Unless people cooperate and “sources” turn into witnesses investigations die.

Following the Outside the Lines article, Texas A&M’s Chancellor John Sharp defended Manziel. Chancellor Sharp mentioned that Rovell by name, and said that Rovell had been “duped before” (he had), and reiterated that Rovell had anonymous sources which remained, anonymous. One factual characterization with an opinion of Rovell’s sources. None of that is “defaming”.

Manziel recently admitted on a podcast that he “made a pretty good living” selling his autograph while playing for Texas A&M.

Following Manziel’s admission (Manziel taking cash for autographs surprises no one), Darren Rovell went on a whinefest rant. He wrote an article demanding that Sharp apologize. Read it. On second thought, don’t read it. Rovell comes off like 13 year who got stood up for middle school dance. Rovell threatening he could sue while admitting that he can’t sue is like the dude being held back by his friends in a bar screaming at a giant biker “I’d kick your ass if my buddies didn’t stop me!” No… no you wouldn’t Darren.

Rovell then repeated his empty threat, tweeting that he would have sued Sharp but for a time bar. “”hold me back guys – I would’da destroyed Sharp”. No..no you wouldn’t Darren. Any lawyer with 5 minutes of experience, any common sense and the ability to read a statute would have told Rovell to sit this one out.

The Texas version of anti-SLAPP is called “The Texas Citizens Participation Act”. There is little doubt that Sharp’s comments are protected under that Act. Had Rovell had sued Sharp, he would have paid Sharp’s attorney fees. Although the Texas version was revised in 2019, Sharp’s statement are/where protected “public figure” opinions and statements of fact. A suit would have never have gotten to discovery, let alone allowed you to “dip” into emails. It doesn’t work that way Darren.

Manziel was taking money? Surprises no one. How about Reggie Bush gets his Heisman back? Bush didn’t take any money, his family took “benefits” per the NCAA. Johnny “Cash” Manziel actually took money. Apparently a lot of it. Either Manziel has his Heisman confiscated by the Heisman Committee or Bush get’s his back. Right?

What’s the “Statute of Limitation” on doing the right thing?

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