June 2, 2020
When former major league pitcher Ron Darling wrote in his autobiography that New York Mets teammate Lenny Dykstra had hurled racial slurs at Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd during the 1986 World Series, Dykstra did not take kindly to the suggestion that he was some sort of racist. So he sued Darling for libel.
You see, there are certain people whom the public holds in such low esteem that they CAN’T be libeled. And last week, a New York judge dismissed Dykstra’s suit for precisely that reason.
Boy, is the decision a doozy.
The court noted that, even before Darling’s book was published, Dykstra “was infamous for being, among other things, racist, misogynist, and anti-gay, as well as a sexual predator, a drug-abuser, a thief, and an embezzler.” Further, the court added, Dykstra “had a reputation—largely due to to his autobiography—of being willing to do anything to benefit himself and his team, including using steroids and blackmailing umpires.”
The court didn’t stop there, pointing out:
– Dykstra was the object of “at least 24 legal actions, including 18 [within a year]” for nonpayment and breach of contract.
– In one instance, it was reported that he asked his former driver to “rough up” and “hurt” his former pilot and “shut him up” about his non-payments.
– Dykstra had reportedly made discriminatory comments against an employee who was gay.
– In a biography of Dykstra (which did not result in a libel action), the author wrote that Dykstra wanted to list oral sex as one of the job requirements for his female employees.
– In 2012, Dykstra pleaded no contest to charges of lewd conduct and assault with a deadly weapon after he threatened a female employee with a knife, demanding that she massage his upper thighs around his genital areas; he was sentenced to 270 days in jail and placed on probation for three years.
– He had also been convicted of fraud, embezzlement and grand theft.
In short, the court wrote, “Dykstra’s reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured” by Darling’s reference to the Oil Can Boyd incident.
I have only one question: What lawyer agreed to take this case in the first place?? Let’s hope, for the lawyer’s sake, that he or she was billing by the hour, and not taking the case on a contingency.