Every defendant who is ever sued has an urge to respond by suing the plaintiff in return. Most defendants realize, with the advice of prudent and thoughtful counsel, that this isn’t a good idea.
Antonio Brown is not one of those defendants.
Brown has countersued Britney Taylor for defamation and interference with his NFL opportunities and endorsements, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. It is, in my opinion based on 18 years of practicing law (but thankfully 10 years removed from doing so), a very bad idea.
Brown should simply defend the allegations on the merits. Fighting back aggressively against someone who won’t have the resources to compensate him for lost NFL opportunities and endorsements will make him look vindictive and mean. Which could make it harder to persuade a jury that he didn’t do the things that Taylor has accused him of doing.
It comes off, quite simply, as a bullying tactic. It forces the plaintiff to worry about an adverse verdict, pressuring her to settle the case for peanuts or to walk away.
Here’s the other problem with a defamation case: Because the damages are determined by assessing the injury to Brown’s pre-existing reputation, everything about his pre-existing reputation becomes fair game. Which gives her lawyers licence to delve into anything and everything that would tend to make Brown look bad.
Bottom line, it’s a very bad idea. But it’s not too late to fix it. Brown can instruct his lawyers to abandon the countersuit and to focus solely on defending against the lawsuit.
It would arguably be the smartest thing he’s done all year. Of course, given the year he’s had, that’s a low bar.