An indictment of local journalism: Here’s our side of baseless Royle v. WNST lawsuit

March 30, 2011 | Nestor Aparicio

I stuck my hand out to shake her hand and introduce myself in August on the hill in Westminster. She jerked her hand back and refused to shake my hand, made a few under-her-breath remarks and that was that.

Fair enough. Again, I’ve got skin like an armadillo. It was far more amusing than hurtful.

But to spread vicious rumors about her? Not me. Not this staff. Not EVER at WNST.net!

While sites like ESPN, SI.com and the like all have entire web links and a ton of traffic to something called “RUMORS” — that’s something that I promise you’ll never see that at WNST.net.

Rumor means what it means: “I’m not sure if it’s true but I’m going to say it anyway.”

And trust me, once you’ve had awful rumors and lies told about you on the internet, any thinking, compassionate, dignified person wouldn’t dare subject anyone else to it because you know the pain it can cause.

As a public figure, I’ve had death threats on the internet. Yes, someone wrote me a note on email the night of a Terps appearance in Fells Point and said they were going to blow my brains out as I walked into an appearance. Clearly, my wife wasn’t really keen on kissing me goodbye that night as I wandered out for my appearance.

The anonymous emails and comments that litter my inbox and Facebook page and WNST comments section are often a sick collection of threats, weird judgments and allegations and a few folks have had a stalker bent that would be considered to be disturbing by anyone who has ever seen a creepy movie.

As the great Neil Peart, one of my childhood heroes, once penned, “Living on a lighted stage approaches the unreal…”

Now, I’m being sued and I’ve even been given friendly advice to “just settle it even if you know you’re right.” Friends have told me that I’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars defending this frivolous case and writing a check from my insurance company will somehow “make it go away.”

That’s apparently how it works in the “real” world.

But no real world I live in.

You wouldn’t have wanted to hear my reaction to anyone in my professional world who gave me advice to a settle a lawsuit that didn’t have any merit and somehow admit guilt where there is none.

I’ve been doing this for 27 years as a professional – locally, nationally and on the internet. We don’t spread rumors. We don’t gossip. We don’t lie. And we’re unabashedly able to own up to ANYTHING we officially report via any of our media properties at WNST.net.

But we’re also not strangers to pointing out that our product is the best in the marketplace every day and telling you why and proving it every day with our passion, industriousness and accountability. If we don’t tell you how good we are, we certainly don’t expect our competition to do it.

And when our competitors bring inferior, out-of-town talent into the marketplace we’re going to point it out.

Especially when any media member would be so brazen about loving the Yankees and Red Sox and so openly disrespectful to the community they’re serving – the community that is literally feeding them.

On a personal level, I feel violated. On a professional level, I’m appalled and angered.

I’ve worked 27 years to build my reputation. I’ve never been arrested or accused of any crime. I’ve served my community, raising over $1 million dollars worth of goods services for Baltimore charities and people in need.

And now my livelihood, business, employees, partners, reputation and everything I’ve ever worked for is being jeopardized and threatened in a frivolous lawsuit.

No one at WNST.net has ever written or said what these allegations suggest. Not even close.

We said Jennifer Royle doesn’t know as much about Baltimore sports as we do.

We said she’s lacking information and professionalism, which if you’ve followed her on Twitter, you’d see why we’ve come to that conclusion.

She’s a public figure. She has a fan page on Facebook. She chooses to go on the radio and serve up her opinions about our sports culture. And she chooses to fight with Baltimoreans and local sports fans seemingly every single day of her life on the internet.

And, now, we’ve served up our opinion.

In the end the truth usually wins in America. Or at least I’d like to believe that.

The truth is this is a frivolous case filed by a woman who is trying to come to Baltimore and make a name for herself by suing the best sports media company in Baltimore for pointing out what we’ve known since the day she arrived. She’s not a Baltimore sports expert and now she has her feelings hurt and is trying to injure WNST, its partners, employees, agents and fans by trying to take money from my company.

I’m not going to allow that. Steven L. Miles isn’t going to allow that. And my partners and employees aren’t going to allow that.

My partners at WNST.net and I will vigorously defend our honor and our right to speak the truth now and forever.

I appreciate you reading this blog and your concern about WNST and our position on this crazy lawsuit.

And we appreciate all that you’ve done to support us and help make and keep us great.

I hope to see you at Amicci’s tomorrow night in Little Italy for the Orioles opener in Tampa.

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