Eric Lindros has sued former NHL referee Paul Stewart -- who since retiring from the game in the early 2000s has been a columnist for Huffington Post -- claiming that Stewart damaged his reputation with a column written in 2014.
The column in question can be read here. In it, Stewart tells a story from early in Lindros' career when Stewart was officiating a game at the Spectrum.
You may have heard this story before -- places like Deadspin wrote about it and called Lindros a "dickhead." Stewart had asked for some posters to be signed and Lindros allegedly ripped them up. Here's what Stewart wrote:
The start of the game at the Spectrum was delayed several minutes. I had to wait for the red light on the scorer's table to indicate that the broadcast had returned from a commercial and it was OK to drop the opening faceoff.
"Hey, Eric. How are things going? How's your dad?" I asked.
The response: "[Bleep] you. Just drop the [bleeping] puck already."
Lindros was apparently in a bad mood because he'd recently missed 12 games with a knee injury, the team was in a losing skid, and he'd had a tough game in New Jersey. This game was also played about a week after Lindros had to go to court in Toronto after the Koo Koo Bananas incident. You know what? Those were his problems, not mine. But we were about to have a mutual problem.
Right off the opening faceoff, Lindros bulled forward and drilled Nicholls under the chin with his stick. I ditched Lindros on a high-sticking penalty.
Before the game, I had brought a tube filled with posters to Flyers' equipment manager Jim "Turk" Evers. The posters, which depicted Recchi and Lindros, were to be autographed and then donated to a charity auction. I had done a similar thing in other cities, such as a Cam Neely and Ray Bourque poster in Boston, and a Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh.
After the game, I want to Turk to collect the poster tube.
"Stewy, you're not going to like this," Evers said. "I don't have them."
"What do you mean you don't have them?" I asked.
"Well, Rex signed the posters but when Eric found out they were for you, he tore every one of them up. I'm sorry about that."
I never spoke to Eric Lindros again.
Back when Stewart first wrote that, former Flyers equipment manager Turk Evers told Preston & Steve that this didn't happen and that Lindros "would never do anything like that."
Via TSN, here's what Lindros' court claim states. In a nutshell, "I'm not a dickhead and Stewart damaged my reputation."
"It was both intended and foreseeable to Stewart and the AOL defendants that the article would receive widespread public attention and readership. Lindros is a well-known public figure, particularly in Canada and the United States and other countries where ice hockey is popular. ... (Lindros) has suffered aggravated damages as a consequence of the republications.
"The republications reported that 'Eric Lindros was apparently an enormous (bleep)' and that 'Lindros angrily tearing up charity posters is a high point in athlete dickhead behaviour.'
Lindros is seeking $3 million in damages with his lawsuit -- $2 million in general damages and $1 million in aggravated damages. He's also looking for the original Huffington Post story to be removed from the Internet.