Sixteen minutes after an allegedly false news report leaked on an amateur college football webblog (see below), attorneys for the University of Florida at Gainesville, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, and the Florida chapter of Focus on the Family threatened to take action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida against the publishers of "The Rivalry, Esq."
Counsel for Tebow maintained that the "groundless" criticism of the star's private sex life, "implied to be factual, and to represent a negative image" constituted libel -- the common law tort of defamation, warranting injunctive and declarative relief.
"What these kids don't realize is that there are real consequences for the creative exposition of their online super-egos," Attorney H.E. Pennypacker, a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law said in a prepared statement. "These aren't public figures acting in a public capacity -- they're real student athletes with real feelings."
Asked to comment, co-author of "The Rivalry, Esq." Jonathan Franz said at first he wasn't concerned.
But then he realized that his first year Constitutional Law course didn't actually cover defamation. "Yeah, I sort of overlooked that detail -- we spent our whole semester on the Commerce Clause. If this were about whether Congress can regulate the local production of wheat, for example, I'd totally kick ass. Still, after checking it out on Wikipedia I'm confident they don't have a claim."
"What these kids don't realize is that there are real consequences for the creative exposition of their online super-egos...These aren't public figures acting in a public capacity --they're real student athletes with real feelings."
Franz's partner Filler was unavailable for comment -- a representative in Detroit speaking on the condition of anonymity indicated that he plans to retain Sean McGinley, a Charleston attorney famous for his role defending Rich Rodriguez in his current contract dispute with West Virginia University.
Franz, on the other hand, suggested he might look to former Attorney General of Ohio Marc Dann, who recently resigned from office amidst allegations of misconduct, immorality, and pending resolutions of impeachment.
Asked if he really thinks Dann would be willing to help, Franz replied, "I heard the guy is helping his wife sell Tupperware in Youngstown. At least this (case) might involve deposing a number of co-eds from the sunshine state. That's good clean fun."
While adamant he will not return to the practice of law, Marc Dann did indicate that he sides with his fellow Buckeye. "If the guy (Tebow) is really so sensitive about his body, he shouldn't be running around in front of millions of viewers in nylon dazzle pants. He's practically advertising the goods."
Franz said that despite the pending action The Rivalry, Esq. will continue to feature new content as planned. "The 'rivalry' is bigger than any one person. It's about a community of ideas and we're not ready to give up on that just yet."