A report has surfaced that Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey all drank beer during games. The three Boston Red Sox pitchers vehemently denied the report, perhaps setting up a defamation suit.
Last week, John Lester came out and admitted to drinking beer in the team's clubhouse, presumably in games he was not pitching, reports The Boston Globe. However, a new report by WHDH-TV says that Lester and the other two pitchers drank beer in the dugout during games. This ups the ante as the report basically accuses the pitchers of drinking on the field of play.
According to the report, the trio would fill cups with Bud Light as early as the sixth inning. And the practice became more frequent later in the season -- coinciding with the team's historic collapse out of the playoff race -- reports the Globe.
Given the embarrassing way in which the Red Sox blew the season, fans have been looking for scapegoats. Manager Terry Francona was fired, and the three star pitchers are now the primary targets.
So far, all three have denied the report. Lester called the report "completely false," Beckett said the statements were "not true," and Lackey also said "this latest rumor is not true."
To prevent further rumors and damage to their reputations, the three may consider bringing a defamation lawsuit. Generally, someone can bring a defamation lawsuit if they have been harmed by a published false statement. However, as sports stars, the three will have a higher standard to prove than the average private citizen when it comes to proving defamation.
As the pitchers are taking a beating across Red Sox Nation, they have clearly been harmed. Still, the three should be aware that truth is a defense in a defamation action, and if Beckett, Lester, and Lackey had in fact been drinking in the dugout, a lawsuit may force the truth to come out -- perhaps confirming the Red Sox drinking rumors.