UPDATED: South Carolina coach files defamation lawsuit against Mizzou athletic director

9 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 2:07:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in Sports
By: Steve Lambson, News Content Manager & Olivia Gerling
loading

COLUMBIA - The head coach of the University of South Carolina's women's basketball team filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against MU Athletic Director Jim Sterk.

The lawsuit, filed by Dawn Staley, accuses Sterk of libel/slander for suggesting she promoted a reportedly racist atmosphere after the Tigers' game against the Gamecocks on January 28.

According to the lawsuit, following the game, South Carolina Director of Athletics Ray Tanner began looking into claims of inappropriate behavior by Gamecocks fans, directed toward Mizzou players. On January 30, Tanner said he couldn't confirm any such behavior.

The suit said, despite that finding, Sterk said the following in an interview on KTGR radio:

"It wasn't a great atmosphere. It was really kind of unhealthy...we had our players spit on, and called the N-word, and things like that. It was not a good environment and unfortunately, I think Coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere, and it's unfortunate she felt she had to do that."

The statement was later carried by other news outlets, like ESPN, the New York Times and Washington Post, according to the suit.

Staley is seeking up to $75,000 in damages.

Is the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball coach considered a public figure?

According to University of Missouri School of Law professor Sandy Davidson, that is the question to decide the defamation lawsuit filed against MU Athletic Director Jim Sterk.

“That often is the deciding factor in a libel suit,” she said.

According to the suit, USC Athletic Director Ray Tanner made a statement on January 30. He said there was “no confirmation of the alleged behavior directed at the visiting team by the fans of the game.”

But Davidson said proving a libel case is difficult.

“We’re talking about defamation,” she said. “What we’re talking about is damage to a reputation.”

She said cases like this are split into public officials and public figures, and private individuals.

“How you are categorized makes all the difference on how likely you are to succeed in a defamation suit,” Davidson said. 

In the upcoming case, the court will be looking at whether Staley can be considered a public figure or not.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - People gathered at Hickman High School on Saturday to celebrate holidays from several cultures. KOPN Community Radio... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:10:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia College had a special moment during the graduation ceremony Saturday to honor a student who died in... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:15:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Diocese confirmed Saturday three people were added to its list of clergy accused of... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:31:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A 19-year-old woman was shot Saturday afternoon near Aspen Heights Parkway, police said. At around 2:40 p.m.,... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 4:40:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Capitol has recently completed an effort to restore and conserve the building's... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 3:26:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Anyone walking around Boonville might be able to play a game of "I spy" now that painted rocks... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:50:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- High school football teams from around the state will travel to Memorial Stadium for the next five years to... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:41:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in Sports
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke , who's facing federal investigations into his travel, political... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:53:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
ASHLAND - The Southern Boone Area YMCA will build a new 15,714 square-foot facility in the next two years, if... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:48:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities are looking for a man who is suspected of fleeing to Missouri after officers shot... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:12:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
PERRYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A former county official from southeast Missouri already in prison on a conviction of exploiting the... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:09:52 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - The Holts Summit Police Department has offered to include New Bloomfield in its coverage area for the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 9:47:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A federal judge in Texas said on Friday that the Affordable Care Act's individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 8:12:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON - A new report released Friday ranks Missouri 48th in the nation for tobacco use prevention programs. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 8:08:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The South End Zone Project at Faurot Field is just over halfway through its construction timeline and people... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 3:46:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
FULTON - Connie Cashion is the 2018 winner for the city's Jane Bierdeman-Fike Humanitarian Award. The award goes to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 3:16:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
FULTON - A Fulton nonprofit surpassed their volunteer goal and is able to give over 400 children a Christmas miracle.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 2:52:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Nicole Galloway will join the investigation into Josh Hawley's use of funds during his Senate... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 2:44:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 33°
12am 33°
1am 32°
2am 32°
3am 31°