Former UCLA basketball player Reeves Nelson has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Sports Illustrated and writer George Dohrmann after a March article that alleged Nelson was cancer that tore the Bruins apart from the inside.
The article portrayed Nelson as a bully who intentionally injured teammates and was generally a distraction because of his lack of discipline on and off the court. Nelson’s attorney, Keith Fink, told the Los Angeles Times that the suit alleges defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The suit has reportedly been filed now because the NBA draft is coming up in June and Nelson wants to clear his name in hopes of playing professionally. According to TMZ, the suit includes statements from 18 UCLA players and ex-players who deny the allegations made against Nelson. Fink also claims he can prove that Dohrmann failed to fully investigate the article.
One of the more shocking claims in the article was that Nelson piled teammate Tyler Honeycutt’s clothes on his bed, then urinated on them. In the lawsuit Honeycutt claims no such thing occurred.
Nelson was booted off UCLA’s basketball team after numerous run-ins with head coach Ben Howland and the fact that he failed to meet a number of obligations. That much we know, the rest we learned from Dohrmann’s article.
While all the details of the report in Sports Illustrated might not be correct, Nelson’s reputation was likely not damaged a whole lot because of the article. In fact, his reputation was already in the toilet long before it was published.
I’m not sure if this suit will stand up in court, but obviously Nelson and the people around him believe it will.