Sep 16, 2013; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls former player Scottie Pippen looks on as Tiger Woods (not pictured) tees off on the 10th hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Bad news for the namesake of this website, Pippen Ain’t Easy. Scottie Pippen’s defamation lawsuit is basically finished now after the Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of the suit by a federal appeals court. The judge dismissed the case based on the grounds, that Pippen and his attorneys failed to make the case that these outlets, NBCUniversal Media LLC., CBS Interactive, Inc. among others “falsely or recklessly” published information about his finances that claimed he was broke.
Scottie Pippen initially filed the lawsuit back in 2011, claiming a number of websites reported that he had filed for bankruptcy (if you google Scottie Pippen, you will find Scottie Pippen Broke as one of the choices) when he claims he never did so, according to the ruling.
All of this drama started with a story on CNBC.com titled “15 Athletes Gone Bankrupt,” stating Pippen lost 120 million dollars, including over four million for a corporate jet.
Pippen alleged his endorsements, prospective deals and personal appearances took a hit as a result of the false accusations.
The courts are saying that Pippen’s legal team has failed to make the case that the websites “either knew the statements were false or were recklessly indifferent to whether they were true or false,” according to the rulings.
Okay, that’s the legal ruling, here’s my take.
Let me preface what I say here is based on my 20 year experience in television media and from a course of Law and Ethics in college. All laws are different in every state, so what I say may not cover all aspects of this case, that is if they should.
First off, if you water down what the courts are saying, it comes to this. CNBC.com has to show malice in trying to ruin a reputation before damages can be awarded.
In layman’s terms this means someone woke up one morning mad at Scottie Pippen and wanted to destroy his reputation. Even if that was the case, being a public figure, the burden of proving this is actually harder than it is for you or me to bring the same claim. Why do you think tabloids are still in business?
Plus, I remember a phrase a lawyer told me one time that applies in this case. He told me “They’re is no law against being stupid.”
Just because a news organization did not sufficiently research their facts before writing their story does not mean that there is a defamation claim. Is it unprofessional? Heck yeah! Is it grounds for suspension or even termination? Yup! Is it worth forking over 10 million dollars in a lawsuit? Nope.
Bottom line, Scottie Pippen’s legal team has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that malice was involved which is nearly impossible. If laziness was a crime, he’d be 10 million dollars richer and media outlets would be a thousand times more careful. I’ve witnessed plenty of mistakes like these in my career and usually, it’s just a case of making a mistake. Nothing more, nothing less.
I can understand Scottie Pippen was upset about these alleged false story about the him losing all of his money and filing for bankruptcy. It might be upsetting that you wake up in the morning and find reports that you are broke…
That is until you check the bank statement and find that the money is still there.
Pippen Ain’t Easy tried to find a copy of the CNBC.com story and it could not be found. No surprise, if there is a lawsuit going on with a defamation claim, any media company would pull the article. I actually would have believed the article if I had read it. I actually thought for years that Scottie was broke. But it’s not like Scottie Pippen is “Magic Johnson” when it comes to finances. Let’s take a look at a couple of issues that has happened over the years that would lead people to believe that Scottie would be bankrupt.
The Jet…Really Scottie? The Jet…Why?
Back in 2002, Scottie Pippen dropped a cool four million dollars for a luxury jet. Come to find out, the jet also needed an extra one million dollars in repairs. Umm, I’m going out on a limb Pippen Peoples and assume if you bought a car you would have a mechanic to check under the hood, give the okay on the engine, transmission, I mean you know the deal. Who buys a jet and doesn’t get it checked? When he sued the attorneys monitoring this deal he did get to keep the million that was to be used for repairs and he kept the jet but at what cost?
1) Based on how this situation was described, Scottie still came out looking like an idiot. Any reputable business person will look at Pippen side eyed after hearing a story that sounds as ridiculous as this. Furthermore, what does this man need with a private plane? He can’t afford the upkeep obviously if he went back to court risking embarrassment chasing one million dollars. If he needs to fly, I’ve heard you can charter those things. I know it doesn’t cost four million dollars.
2) Scottie Pippen’s finances made the news again when he sued, his financial advisors, his accountant, his former law firm for not overseeing his financial transactions.
Are we starting to see a trend here? I mean, am I going to get sued for this article? This is not about basketball, this is about business. Trust me, it’s a cruel, cold world out there. Businessmen already think that athletes are not that smart to begin with. This is why Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan are amazing with what they have accomplished. It may seem easy to us on the outside but there had to be some growing pains to go with their success. Based on all of the lawsuits that Scottie has brought up might have hurt his prospective dealings and not the fact that he was allegedly broke.
As a fan Scottie, I’ll give you some advice.
If you are not broke. Cool, move on with your life. You have a beautiful family, a gorgeous wife and you have a job as a senior advisor in the Chicago Bulls organization. Life is good for you right now, enjoy it.
As for your dealings with the media. Trust me, as a guy that is in two avenues of media, I realize that the article was an inconvenience, but the real inconvenience is if it was true because you have no money.
As for your business dealings, I have some advice. Lay low and stay out of the courtroom. CEOs hate hearing the word lawsuit attached to anybody. Right now it’s tattooed on your forehead. Just Sayin!