Web Site Stands Behind Its Reports Of Positive Drug Results
With the kind of defiance that suggests either a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of its report or a lack of tangible assets that makes suing the company not worth the time, money, and effort required to do so, the proprietor of NFLDraftBible.com has aggressively vouched for his site’s recent flurry of reports linking various draft-eligible players with positive drug test results at the Scouting Combine. “The NFLDraftBible.com reported a story based on very reliable sources,” Rick Serritella, founder and CEO of the site, told Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. “We have reported hundreds, if not thousands of stories in the past and we have never had any issues with any of our stories in the past.” But Serritella conceded that failing to contact the players or their agents for comment before posting the iteams “was probably a mistake on our part.” It could end up being an expensive mistake. If the reports are wrong, the players could sue NFLDraftBible.com for defamation, since there will always be a segment of the population that regards the players in question as guys who smoked pot or used steroids. Thus, the false reports (if they are false) necessarily impair their reputations. Though some believe that Internet sites have no legal accountability for defamatory content, they (we) definitely do. That’s why we’ve refrained from posting many stories over the years absent official confirmation. Even as to a story that is based on an impeccable unnamed source, defending against a lawsuit alleging that a given story is false could force a web site to make a tough choice -- reveal the unnamed source, or take the legal bullet. Whether NFLDraftBible.com gets sued remains to be seen. If only one suit is filed, it likely will be the death knell of the operation, especially once Serritella gets the first bill from his lawyer.