Report alleges steroid use ended Jackson's career
CHICAGO -- Bo Jackson filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday against a California newspaper that quoted a dietary expert who said the former two-sport star used steroids.
The lawsuit was filed in Cook County against the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, MediaNews Group Inc., MediaNews Group Interactive, Inc., sports writer Jim Mohr, who is now sports editor, and three other employees of the newspaper.
"I've got nothing to hide," Jackson said at a news conference before the White Sox's game against the Cleveland Indians. "If anyone wants to check into my medical past, go get blood tests, go check up on those blood tests and see if there was any anabolic steroids in it. You're more than welcome."
Jackson is suing for unspecified general and punitive damages. His lawyer, Dan Biederman, also said they want the newspaper to print a retraction.
Steve Lambert, the editor of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and The Sun of San Bernardino, said it was too early for the newspaper to comment on the lawsuit.
"We're still investigating the situation," he said.
Mohr did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday night.
In a story published March 24 under Mohr's byline, dietary expert Ellen Coleman was quoted as saying she knew personally that "Bo Jackson lost his hip because of anabolic abuse."
Jackson, the only player to be named to the NFL's Pro Bowl and appear in baseball's All-Star game, injured his hip playing for the Oakland Raiders in 1991 in a playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He did play baseball that season for the Chicago White Sox and had a hip replacement the next year. He returned to baseball in 1993 and spent one more season in Chicago before signing with the California Angels and then retiring in 1994. He won the Heisman Trophy as a running back for Auburn in 1985.
Jackson said he found the story from the newspaper online, and at least one person called him about it. Biederman said he then contacted Coleman, who denied making any statements about Jackson. She provided the lawyer with a videotape of her speech at a Riverside, Calif., sports forum to back up her claim.
"At no time during my speech or while speaking individually to Jim Mohr did I use or mention the name Bo Jackson," Coleman said in a signed affidavit.
Jackson, now a businessman who lives in suburban Chicago, talks to children about health and nutrition issues. He denied ever using or even seeing steroids in any form.
"I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Maybe I did or maybe I didn't,"' Jackson said. "I didn't. Never did. Never had to do."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press