Jury Finds Newspaper Acted with Malice
Sapulpa’s attorney, Michael Barkett, expressed their happiness for Scott Sapulpa’s victory in the defamation case against The Oklahoman. Barkett hopes this verdict will finally clear Sapulpa’s name. On the other hand, Gannett, the owner of The Oklahoman, plans to appeal the jury’s decision, stating that there was no evidence of intentional harm or awareness of false reporting.
The Incident and False Identification
The incident in question took place during the Norman-Midwest City game livestream. An announcer made a racial epithet and curse words when describing a team that was kneeling during the game. Originally, The Oklahoman incorrectly identified Sapulpa as the person responsible for the comment. However, the owner of the streaming service, Matt Rowan, later admitted to making the remark and apologized, attributing it to his blood-sugar levels.
Defamation and Emotional Distress Allegations
Sapulpa brought forward allegations of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury’s determination that The Oklahoman acted with malice allows Sapulpa to pursue punitive damages in addition to clearing his name. The trial outcome sheds light on the seriousness of such incidents and the consequences they can have on individuals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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