The following article is a guest contribution by Benjamin Haynes, Esq. Haynes is a former Division 1 Basketball Player at Oral Roberts University and currently practices law in the State of Florida.
Ralph Cindrich is a sports agent in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Recently, Ralph has come out with some very aggressive comments directed towards the NCAA, NCAA President Mark Emmert, and Nick Saban. According to a recent article published on AL.com, Ralph believes Nick Saban is cheating and breaking NCAA rules. However, when pressed, Ralph offered no direct evidence to prove such. Instead, Ralph stated, “Everybody has something on Nick Saban. And if he has a problem with anything I say, then come after me, big guy.” Further, when Ralph was asked if Alabama players were paid, he stated, “Oh, come on.”
Cindrich made a comment that I found quite interesting. He stated, “I have enough on Saban right now, and I realize this stuff gets out, and I also realize that truth is a defense.” This comment shows that Cindrich is aware of the legal cause of action, defamation. Defamation is a statement of fact that is false and causes a defamatory effect, identifies the Plaintiff, and is published to a third party. The key to defamation is the statement made cannot be one of mere opinion, but has to be a fact. This could be the reason why Cindrich didn’t mention any specific facts when being interviewed. That, or Ralph doesn’t really have any facts to speak of. However, truth is an absolute defense to a lawsuit against defamation. That means if Ralph would have stated specific facts about Saban cheating, and they were true facts, then Saban could not succeed in a defamation lawsuit against Ralph.
This rant by Cindrich began when he was being asked about the sanctions imposed by the NCAA against Penn State. From there, Ralph went on to speak about the integrity of the NCAA, or better yet, the lack there of. Saban wasn’t the only person spoken of during the interview. Ralph had some choice words for Mark Emmert as well. When asked what Ralph thought of Mark Emmert, he replied, “A bozo, a hypocrite.” When asked about the NCAA decision against Penn St., Cindrich replied, “We should be looking at them (NCAA). There’s something that smells about this whole thing. It came down too quickly, in my opinion.”
One thing is for sure, while nobody will get upset about Cindrich bashing the NCAA, Alabama football faithful fans took issue with his statements regarding Nick Saban and the University. Cindrich had his Twitter feed blown up with angry Alabama fans on Thursday, demanding that he state facts before he throws out merit less accusations.