By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Veteran Patriots safety Patrick Chung is the subject of a lawsuit. This one qualifies as a strange one.
TMZ reported Thursday that a man named Matthew Hogan, a former Rams “ticket executive” who was fired after one of his text messages sent during the Super Bowl appeared on Chung’s Instagram page.
That text was sent to Matthew Weymouth, who is a college friend of Hogan who also happens to run Chung’s social media accounts. The message sent from Hogan came after Chung suffered a broken arm during the Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Rams, and it stated, “Patrick Chung is a bitch.”
Some screen shots are still available of the posted text messages, via Reddit, with a foul language warning, of course.
The accompanying caption on Chung’s Instagram page to those screen shots was this: “Matt Hogan from the @rams organization. This is disrespectful of you. I would never wish or say anything like this to anyone after they just broke their arm. You should be ashamed bro. Can’t even believe it. But I pray for happiness and good health for you because a real man.”
Hogan was subsequently fired by the Rams, and his lawsuit appears to be centered on the fact that the Instagram posts (which were deleted) did not specify that Hogan was not sending texts directly to Chung but was instead sending texts to Weymouth. By Hogan’s estimation, that qualifies as defamation.
TMZ reported that Hogan is suing Chung, Weymouth, “and others” for $1.75 million.
Does sharing the direct quotes of someone qualify as defamation? I suppose we’ll find out soon enough. In the meanwhile, we can all surmise that in the event that you are friends with the social media manager of an NFL player, and that NFL player suffers a serious injury in the biggest sporting event of the year, it would be wise to avoid trouble by just not texting demeaning and critical messages about that player to your friend in the heat of the moment. Not much good can come out of that — personally, professionally, or otherwise.