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A Lawsuit, On The Academic Magnet Ceremony Portrayal Of Watermelon

North Charleston, SC, the debate continues, the pre game ceremonies around the football athletes in the academic magnet high school. Three players parents filed a libel action, says the district to damage his reputation.
“Looking at the lawsuit that's based on defamation -- that would be libel or slander -- in here you have both,” said Attorney Debra Gammons. “Slander what was said by the school district official and libel what was written in the local newspaper.”

In their lawsuit the parents of three Academic Magnet football players claim the Charleston County School District and the “Charleston City Paper” falsely portrayed their sons as racist during the debate over and investigation into a post-game ritual. It's a claim that holds merit according to Attorney Debra Gammons.

“If the plaintiffs can state or put on the stand how other people now perceive them differently because of the statements that were made or how they are treated different because of these statements, that would go to prove a loss of reputation in the community,” said Gammons.

The ritual, in which players smashed a watermelon after wins initially cost the head coach his job. He was eventually rehired after fierce community backlash. But the investigation, according to the parents, harmed their sons' reputations by falsely accusing them of being racist, and that an article in the “Charleston City Paper” further defamed them.

“It will come down to what most cases come down to, credibility. If plaintiffs take the stand and have other witnesses to say we did not say this, we did not do this, the school officials and the newspaper said well, this is what we thought and now its credibility, who's telling the truth,” said Gammons.

Gammons said a settlement may be reached before trial.

Pending litigation, the school district declined to comment.Source:counton2.com

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