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Golf Champ Puts CNN on Notice with $450M Lawsuit Threat, Demands On-Air Apology

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Patrick Reed, a member of the LIV and the 2018 Masters winner, has never had trouble expressing himself.

Reed, 32 years old, has developed a reputation for being an outspoken and confrontational personality, especially when it comes to golf-related things.

CNN and sports commentator Bob Costas are realizing that Reed has no difficulty carrying that passion off the golf course as well.

Multiple sources, including Golf Monthly and Mediaite, report that Reed and his legal team have threatened CNN and Costas for “the damage which they have caused.”

That damage? Reed and Klayman’s Law Group say that CNN’s Jake Tapper and Bob Costas participated in a “highly defamatory” episode of “The Lead with Jake Tapper” that criticized LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed golf league that is viewed by many as an existential threat to the PGA.

“Late last week, CNN and Jake Tapper, along with CNN’s sports reporter Bob Costas, aired a highly defamatory piece titled, ‘The Court Fight Between PGA Tour and LIV Golf Escalates as the Saudi-backed LIV Tries to Avoid Handing Over Information,’” legal documents procured by Golf Monthly reads.

The legal filing provides more evidence that CNN and Costas were in the wrong.

“This widely viewed broadcast in Florida, the United States, and internationally was not only defamatory, but also intended to incite ridicule, hatred, and violence against LIV Golf players, such as my client Patrick Reed, a world champion professional golfer, by claiming that he receives ‘blood money’ from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy 22 years ago.

“The report wrongly implies, at the very least, that he is utilizing a case in which he is not even a party to dig up data, track out 9/11 victim families, threaten them, and harass them. The program republishes an earlier Bloomberg piece with flagrant disdain for the facts and acknowledges the Bloomberg article throughout the broadcast.

“Mr. Reed is not a taker of ‘blood money,’ as he simply plays on a golf tour financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which also owns large shares in a myriad of American companies such as Disney, Boeing, J.P. Morgan Chase, Amazon, Blackrock Inc., Microsoft and many others. Indeed, many sponsors of the PGA Tour benefit from this investment fund, and PGA Tour players have recently been granted releases by the PGA Tour to play in the Saudi International Golf Tournament in Jeddah, on February 2-5, 2023, also financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Aramco, the oil company owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, also sponsors and finances a number of LPGA events. Are you accusing female professional golfers of also taking ‘blood money?’

“Tapper, Costas and CNN are therefore on notice that if an on air public apology is not immediately made to Mr. Reed and the broadcast removed and retracted from CNN’s websites, streaming services and other forms of publication, in order to mitigate the damage which they have caused, as well as discipline meted out to Tapper and Costas, we reserve the right after five (5) days to sue Tapper, Costas and CNN pursuant to Florida Statute 770.01 for damages well in excess of $450,000,000 dollars which includes compensatory, actual, special and punitive damages.”

Reed and his team are requesting an on-air public apology and a complete retraction of the episode, failing which they will sue CNN.

Given CNN’s response to Golf Monthly’s lawsuit, it appears doubtful that the network would comply with Reed’s demands:

“This is a frivolous lawsuit, whose aim is to chill free speech and intimidate journalists from covering important stories about the Saudi government and the Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament.

“CNN will aggressively defend its reporting, which did not even mention the plaintiff in its coverage,” a CNN spokesperson said, per Golf Monthly.

Despite its bravado, a near-half-billion-dollar lawsuit is the last thing the network needs, given its continuing dismal ratings and talent exodus.

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