Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photo from www.firechilly.com.
I'm obviously no legal expert, but I've been struggling to understand the difference between what John Hoff did in regards to Jerry Moore when compared to how sports fans across the country express dissatisfaction with coaches or teams. It seems that one statement from JNS may have had an impact on the jury, in which John Hoff takes credit for getting Jerry Moore fired (whether Hoff actually had that impact or whether the decision to terminate Moore's contract was made without influence from the Johnny Northside blog has not been established). Moore's lawyer Jill Clark said that indicated a step beyond "speech" and crossed over into "action."
Well, firechilly.com and other similar sites all lobbied openly for the Vikings to terminate Brad Childress' contract. And then when that did happen, site operators took credit for their supposed accomplishment. www.givechildresstheboot.com says, "We did it! We have officially (unofficially) accomplished our goal of being the FIRST site to use social media to have a professional head coach fired." Uh oh, seems like speech and action to me.
On the various anti-Childress sites, what we see appears to be quite similar to the Moore/Hoff standoff. People discussed facts (The Vikings were losing games, the Randy Moss debacle was mishandled) and opinions (whole sites dedicated to expressing dissatisfaction with or personal dislike of a public figure) with the goal of getting Brad Childress fired. Chilly had a pretty hefty contract, so if the jury's ruling in the Moore/Hoff case is not overturned on appeal, then sports fans who lobby for the firing of a coach better be prepared to cover millions in lost pay, future earnings, or emotional damages.
If, from a legal perspective, I'm way off base here, please educate me.