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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.

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20 Responses to “Web Site Stands Behind Its Reports Of Positive Drug Results”
  1. descendency says: Apr 6, 2009 8:29 PM

    Why hire a lawyer to lose a case. It’s clear they made it up and hiring a lawyer to defend a nothing of a case would be a waste. Might as well just remove the story and cry to the judge and hope.

  2. titans_fan says: Apr 6, 2009 8:32 PM

    “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.”
    How about getting sued for using “NFL” in their name?

  3. CountSnail says: Apr 6, 2009 8:33 PM

    “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.”
    Except for, you know, the deaths of HOF QBs in car wrecks. ZING!

  4. mborz says: Apr 6, 2009 8:34 PM

    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.

    Good thing your sources told you that Terry Bradshaw was dead and not arrested for crack possession then.

  5. ShotOfGinn says: Apr 6, 2009 8:35 PM

    Terry Bradshaw would sue you because part of the population regard him as that dead guy.

  6. TacoYaco says: Apr 6, 2009 9:16 PM

    Florio wishes he had the scoop.

  7. footballfan09 says: Apr 6, 2009 9:24 PM

    titans_fan,
    How could you sue a website for that? I know for a fact the entire NFL knows about nfldraftscout.com and it has NFL in their name. You can’t sue for that because they aren’t using any trademarks of the NFL or copyrighted information.

  8. footballfan09 says: Apr 6, 2009 9:24 PM

    TacoYaco,
    Hope you are being sarcastic because Florio has more sources than he leads on to believe.

  9. Hardrada says: Apr 6, 2009 9:42 PM

    This is why we need a reporter shield law.

  10. dldove77 says: Apr 6, 2009 11:06 PM

    Why doesn’t Florio just represent them?

  11. FillyFinatic says: Apr 6, 2009 11:21 PM

    The NFLdraftbible are jerks, they are so proud they ruined a bunch of players lives.

  12. rlr79 says: Apr 6, 2009 11:52 PM

    Hardrada, reporters are shielded enough, in fact IMO to much. Defamation is hard to prove, even harder to put a price on, and if they lose it is strictly because they lied. If we just let reporters say what they want, whenever they want, it would produce chaos, just like yelling fire in a crowded theater, especially with ratings being the end all be all. I believe in the right to freedom of the press, it is one of our most important rights, however we need to make sure it is balanced with other personal rights, remember some of these players could lose millions for this, and if it is because some one flat out lied, or was completely derelict, someone should pay.

  13. Amused 2 Death says: Apr 7, 2009 12:33 AM

    As soon as I read the story, I knew the Terry Bradshaw references would follow. Please, please, let it….for lack of a better word, Die!

  14. methomps says: Apr 7, 2009 4:54 AM

    We have a reporter shield law. It’s called the first amendment. But it doesn’t let you make shit up based on poor sources.

  15. munchkin says: Apr 7, 2009 7:52 AM

    I can’t vouch for the validity of the claims that Draftbible has made but other than the fact they support the Jets I believe these are sane individuals without a death wish for their organization. As a listener of their podcasts I will be disappointed if their allegations turn out to be false. The information the site provides on draft prospects (including interviews with most of the players they have cited) is balanced and well presented. The site recently went through a shake-up of sorts with part of the change being they eliminated information for a fee to free access. If they took a gamble to gain notoriety to increase their advertising exposure it coould be one they live (or in this case fade into oblivion) to regret. Time will tell as to whether the claims are legitimate.

  16. rspringer says: Apr 7, 2009 8:09 AM

    “FillyFinatic says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 11:21 pm
    The NFLdraftbible are jerks, they are so proud they ruined a bunch of players lives.”
    ruined their lives??? you should be on The Hills.

  17. clevelandaewoo says: Apr 7, 2009 9:46 AM

    rspringer says:
    April 7th, 2009 at 8:09 am
    “FillyFinatic says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 11:21 pm
    The NFLdraftbible are jerks, they are so proud they ruined a bunch of players lives.”
    ruined their lives??? you should be on The Hills.
    _________________________________________________
    BURN!

  18. footballfan09 says: Apr 7, 2009 11:48 AM

    Yeah I think you are going too far to say they ruined their lives. So far we have no proof either way. I say we wait to find out officially from the NFL before pointing fingers at anyone. People hating on the players will feel stupid if they didn’t test positive and those hating on draftbible will feel stupid if the players did test positive. Will be curious to see how this unfolds.

  19. Hardrada says: Apr 7, 2009 6:58 PM

    “We have a reporter shield law. It’s called the first amendment.”
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    OK, well, get back to me once you learn the definition of the term “reporter shield law.”

  20. depleted_uranium_balls says: Apr 7, 2009 9:57 PM

    Is this a case where, due to incorporation, NFLDB assets are separate from individual assets like
    Rick Serritella’s? If so, I guess people could incorporate and then make stuff up all day if the corp isn’t worth anything…

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