By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Well you didn’t hear it from me, but about that gossiping, it’s going to cost you.
Anyone who’s ever sat on the bleachers during a kid’s soccer game knows how brutal they can be. The mothers, that is. Which is why Siobhan Winograd, whose kid is a player and whose husband is a volunteer coach on a youth travel soccer team probably shouldn’t have been surprised when one anonymous mom started a campaign against her husband by sending complaints to the league that Ms. Winograd’s husband had fixed the tryouts and was a bully.
Not one to be bullied, Ms. Winograd has filed a defamation lawsuit against the gossiping soccer mom.
In case you thought defamation lawsuits are just for celebrities, think again. To prove a case for defamation, you have to prove that a false statement of fact was made to another person that hurt the victim’s reputation in the community.
The statement against her husband wasn’t “he’s a jerk”, which would be opinion, but “he fixed tryouts” which is a statement of what one hopes is a false statement of fact.
It remains to be seen how this will work out, but the best advice for the rest of us soccer moms is to remember that our kids learn a lot from us about sportsmanship, and both gossiping and resorting to the legal system may not be the best answer when you all need to sit in the bleachers together for the remainder of your kids’ youth sports career.