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Former college football coach sues ESPN and PR Firm for defamation

November 24, 2010

Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has filed suit against ESPN Inc. and Speath Communications, the public relations firm that created the “swift boat” ads” that torpedoed the Presidential campaign of John Kerry in 2004.

College Football Talk reports that Leach filed suit, claiming  ESPN and Speath engaged in “willful defamation.  ESPN covered the firing of the football coach for accused mistreatment of his team’s wide receiver Adam James, son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James. The suit alleges “ESPN published and failed to retract false and damaging statements based on information it obtained in large part from Craig James… who ESPN knew to be hostile to Leach.”

The law suit also accused Speath Communications, a public relations firm hired by Craig James, of leading a false and defamatory campaign against him.

Leach’s lawsuit is seeking “punitive damages as allowed by law,” as well as a permanent injunction “enjoining Defendants from making statements that Plaintiff mistreated a player diagnosed with a concussion and he placed that player at risk of additional injury, and that Plaintiff Leach’s termination was solely Leach’s fault.”

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