Sports Today: The Pete Rose-John Dowd lawsuit defies belief

Today's top headline is a reminder spite can be a very dangerous thing.

If you know literally the first thing about defamation suits involving public figures, the fact a judge could agree someone might have defamed Pete Rose is stunning.

This someone went to law school, no less.

It borders on unbelievable this could happen.

RELATED: Judge rules Pete Rose lawsuit against John Dowd may continue

That is because in the case of public figures (such as Rose), the requirement for proving defamation is not just a negative impact on their reputation but also that the statements at hand were known to be false.

Winning a defamation case, especially for someone who has had a lot of his dirty laundry aired publicly over the years, is nearly impossible for a public figure.

Filing such a suit also opens up both sides to potentially damaging discovery (when they can legally force each other to give up all sorts of information to be used in the trial), or you would see many more lawsuits filed by famous people when someone says something about them they don’t like.

RELATED: MLB keeps jerking around Pete Rose

But it turns out Rose investigator John Dowd's assertion on a radio show two years ago that Rose had repeatedly committed statutory rape in the 1980s has opened him up to legal action.

Dowd’s recklessness here is frankly stunning, especially considering his accusation were not even based on personal knowledge but rather second-hand information.

This becomes problematic when the middle man disavows statements attributed to him.

RELATED: Does new Pete Rose statue remind you of anyone? 

And yet maybe this shouldn’t be entirely surprising because Dowd has been running down Pete Rose ever since he completed his report that got Rose thrown out of baseball nearly 30 years ago.

The Hit King’s banishment was not “the sad end of a sorry episode,” as commissioner Bart Giamatti said at the time, but only because both sides have continued to talk about it ever since.

Rose has done plenty to bring trouble on himself, but Dowd’s conduct has always looked unseemly.

Perhaps this time he went too far...

Meanwhile, the action on the field continues to disappoint.

The Reds were pounded again last night, this time an 11-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cincinnati is 0-5 since the All-Star break, and the team just put another pitcher on the disabled list.

RELATED: Feldman 7th Reds starter to go on DL

They don’t know for sure who will take his spot in the rotation even though there are multiple top prospects in Triple-A who throw the ball from the mound for a living.

HAL MCCOY: Finding a rotation challenge for Reds

That should tell you a lot about the state of pitching not just in the majors but throughout the upper reaches of the organization...

In other news, football season continues to inch closer.

I stopped by Chaminade Julienne yesterday to check out some of the Eagles' 7 on 7 passing camp with Trotwood-Madison.

On top of that, Marc Pendleton's look at the best players from area high schools continued with Fairmont East, the alma mater of a certain former Michigan football coach and the current chairman of the College Football Playoff committee...

Another area athlete, Greeneview's Evan Bradds, was dealt a bad break this spring when he was injured working out for the NBA draft, but he seems to be making the most of it...

Speaking of basketball, Dayton director of athletics Neil Sullivan is bullish on the changes coming to the NCAA tournament selection process. So am I.

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