As the World Turns: Baltimore

Well holy shit.  BmoreBirdsNest alerted me to some drama taking over the obscure (yeah I said obscure) Baltimore Sports Media scene.

@BmoreBirdsNest – This is a day early April Fool’s joke, right? RT @WNST: Nestor: An indictment: Royle v. WNST lawsuit http://bit.ly/fLAdDq

Holy shit!  Are you serious?  I have no idea, as the article doesn’t get into the specifics or repost the actual lawsuit, what the deal is here.  It looks to be like some cat-fighting, he-said she-said stuff.  Some costly cat-fighting.  $800k!

It’s no secret, that we’re not really fans of either combatant here.  Nestor, in his post pretty much points out what most people have pointed out about Jenn Royle and it’s really hard to argue with it.  Whether there is more to the story, (i.e. rumors or personal attacks or what not) we don’t really know.  And I don’t want to look it up.

Jjaks and I have both had run-ins with Royle on Twitter.  Never did we personally attack her but she felt compelled enough to block us.  We usually just point out to her that she’s being hypocritical with how she treats people.  I don’t think that classifies as a personal attack.  I could be wrong or maybe she sees it that way.  Anyway.

When we have run-ins with WNST it’s usually about baseball claims they make without the use of statistics or reason.  That’s just baseball banter and I don’t  think it’s ever gotten personal.  Despite disagreeing with Drew he was nice enough to have us on the radio.  We may disagree but I don’t think he’s a bad guy.  I’ve only met Nestor or seen him a few times, and I haven’t much cared for him.  He’s pretty much all Nestor, all the time.  Regardless, I think it’s bullshit that he’s being sued.

Just for fun, here’s Nestors recap, minus all the stuff about himself.  It shrinks from 2,727 words to 1,670 words.  My good friends (wishful thinking) at FJM once taught me that if a sentence or paragraph has nothing to do with the point of your story, you should probably leave it out.  The link to the full article, without the strike throughs is above in the quoted tweet.

Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? And been accused by someone who is a direct competitor who is attempting to wreck your business and your reputation with a loud and frivolous lawsuit? And have it play out publicly all over the internet and local media?

Well, on Tuesday afternoon I became the accused and now under the microscope of live social media, many of you have made it here to my blog to read “what Nestor thinks” about this crazy attack on the integrity and reputation of WNST.net, a company I’ve spent 27 years of my life building to serve Baltimore sports fans just like you and me with quality information, analysis and community spirit and engagement.

In case you haven’t heard, WNST.net is under attack, getting served what we deem to be a baseless lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court regarding Jennifer Royle, an employee of my two main competitors over the last year. Her allegations are so outrageous that my mind can’t get around how these baseless accusations could ever enter a court of law but such is the state of the American judicial system.

“Anybody can sue anybody for anything” is more than just a credo I’ve heard or read elsewhere. Today, I learned that this is sadly very true.

I just hope that “presumed innocence” is implied and applied but I know better. That’s not the way the internet works in 2011 for people in my line of work.

So, in an effort to give our side of the story – and I’m sure we’ll have our day in court – this is my attempt to answer all of the questions I’m being asked by the tens of thousands of concerned friends, fans and members of the Baltimore sports community.

By the way, none of this is new or a big secret. Everything I will write below is easily searched and verified on the internet. All of this information is quite public because we serve the community.

My attorney, Steven L. Miles, has been addressing this myriad of crazy claims ever since I was issued a warning shot six weeks ago from Jennifer Royle and then provided many inquiries and opportunities to “settle” this lawsuit – meaning WNST.net writes Royle a check with a lot of zeros — without the public embarrassment of having to write a blog like this to defend the invisible. If I just paid her, we could “make this go away.”

Meanwhile, her attorney, who works for my old landlord during my radio career in the 1990’s at Law Offices of Michael Hodes, has declined to provide a shred of evidence that support many of these outrageous claims and allegations.

If you keep up with Royle’s running soap opera on her Twitter and Facebook pages, not to mention her now-defunct blog at MASNSports.com, you’ll see that she’s far more “engaged” with her readers, fans, followers and detractors via vitriol than anything you’ll ever read on the comment boards at WNST.net or anywhere in our social media space, which is by far the largest in the state of Maryland for local sports.

When you’ve been doing this as long as I have – 27 years serving Baltimore sports fans with honest information they can trust – you learn to have “skin like an armadillo.” That was Rex Ryan’s famous line and it’s never been more true than today.

When you are a public figure and give your opinion for a living, anonymous people write and say mean things about you. People say awful, hurtful things and prejudge. Some people – the real cowards – take to the internet and spew filth of all kinds in every direction. As a person who has been truly victimized on more occasions than I care to admit over my last 20 years on Baltimore radio long before there were message boards or comments under blogs, I understand the nature of being a public figure who speaks his mind in Baltimore opining about sports business, media and the community.

It’s a small club, those of this who do this for a living in 2011. And it’s an even smaller club for Baltimore people who own their own multimedia conglomerate and trade off of their integrity. (As a matter of fact, I’m the only member of that club.)

And as many amateurs out there who are writing blogs and opining oft-times loudly and erroneously (ed. note – nice backdoor slider with the diss on blog writers), what sets WNST.net apart is its legacy as a place of open communication, honest reporting, fair news judgment and integrity in everything we do – from how our listeners, readers, friends, followers, sponsors have reacted as we’ve grown into the largest online sports web and media community in the region per any measurement you’d care to take from Twitter to Facebook, from Google Analytics to Alexa, from text subscribers to e-newspaper subscribers.

You can search anywhere on the internet you like and you will not find a shred of evidence that we’ve ever said or done anything more than tell the truth about her journalism skills and her outlandish behavior in social media in Owings Mills. We literally have hundreds and hundreds of public pronouncements made by Miss Royle via social media that quite frankly would make any WNST.net employee an “ex” employee. (And yes, I do the hiring and firing here at WNST.)

Miss Royle’s feelings have been hurt by thousands of people in Baltimore and she is quite a fighter, based on what we read from her public work. Her blog reiterates that on a daily basis as she calls fans “jerks,” “Baltimorons” and the like. You can check it out for yourself. It’s quite public, just like this blog.

Apparently, she’s only decided to sue us here at WNST.net.

Perhaps it’s because we’re a direct competitor, perhaps it’s because she feels like she’ll get her name in the local newspaper and she’ll eventually extract some money out of us. (Win or lose, the attorney fees and my time spent dealing with this nonsense will certainly be draining my piggy bank so I’m a loser beginning today no matter the outcome of this frivolous case.)

Or maybe Royle has deceided to sue us because we’re the most visible, credible local people who have been critical of her work, her out-of-town interests in sports teams and athletes and her clear lack of Baltimore sports expertise as a journalist.

But to think we’ve spread any sort of rumors, gossip or innuendo about her couldn’t be more false.

On behalf of my awesome employees and our families who are fed from the reputation and reach of WNST.net, I’m offended and angered and I will vigorously, honestly and openly fight these outlandish allegations.

I feel like I’m being sued in some sort of effort to embarrass us by a women whose two primary employers were in a partnership that locked me and members of my company out of access to one of our primary sources of business – covering the Baltimore Orioles, which I did for 21 years before my press pass was revoked in 2007 — as independent journalists.

Funny how no one at the Baltimore Business Journal has called me about that but my phone began ringing off the hook yesterday as the “real” media starts to circle the carcass at WNST.net now that a female employee of my competitor is suing me without a shred of evidence to provide to support any of the claims?

What an indictment of American society and the legal system if somehow my business were to be taken down and my livelihood taken away on a series of vitriolic lies by an employee of CBS Radio and Peter Angelos’ MASN who writes outlandish things on the internet on a daily basis. Yesterday, she spent the day retweeting “WNST Sux” and opined that “brothers” (I’m assuming she means African American men, not the local roofing and home services company) like her body parts.

Sadly, this is what America has come to circa 2011.

These are the people who represent CBS Radio locally…

Yes, I’m being sued for $800,000 by an employee of a gigantic company that tries to put me out of business every day and there’s not a shred of evidence that anything I’m being sued for saying, writing or exposing even exists.

I’m not sure how one goes about proving that they DIDN’T say or write something?

According to most of my partners, this is nothing new. This is what it’s like to own a public business with a public voice and to have credible and visibly successful partners and the biggest social media footprint in the marketplace.

I’ve been told “the taller the tree grows the more people who will come to chop it down.”

So be it. This is the garbage these journalists report on in the daily news each day — frivolous lawsuits in an effort to extract money from someone in lieu of paying attorney fees in the tens of thousands (if not millions). This whole NFL fiasco is all about lawsuits for cash. That’s the world we live in circa 2011 in America.

But, for me to clam up and say “wait til I get to the courtroom and I’ll prove my innocence” won’t do me any good if my good name – one that I’ve spent 42 years of my life in this community building from Colgate Elementary to Dundalk High to Dundalk Community College to the University of Baltimore, from The News American to The Sun to Sporting News radio and along various radio stations before WNST came along in 1998 – is run through the mud in my hometown.

I’m not going to stand accused of these horrible lies and not defend myself and company and my employees, especially given the way the cards have fallen for me and my company and the lies that have been proliferated about me by jealous colleagues and angry ex-employees, who ultimately, have a microphone, camera or a keyboard of their own to pass their own judgment within their circle of influence.

One thing about WNST.net – our record speaks for itself. From what we’ve done in the community to the way we break and report news and continue to evolve in the era of the internet with a level, live playing field via mobile devices, where we’re really expanding our company in 2011 – it’s all on the record and has been since I was a teenager.

I’m very, very, very proud of what we’ve built with the community here at WNST.net and not a day goes by without some stranger on the street approaching me with a kind word about how much they love our company and what we do.

I’ve tried to raise the bar for Baltimore sports journalism at every turn since WNST-AM 1570 began in 1998. Reporting the truth with integrity, accountability and facts. And we’ll certainly continuing doing that.

And for the record, I’ve never even met Jennifer Royle. I have never had a conversation with her. The first and only time I ever “met” her 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 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 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 we’ve served up ours.

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.

I have to agree with his condemnation on the American judicial system and frivolous lawsuits.  Should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

7 Comments

Filed under General Posts

7 responses to “As the World Turns: Baltimore

  1. Mike Wayland

    Ha ha. Thanks for the edited version of Nestor’s post. You put your finger on why I can’t completely embrace WNST. The constant shameless self promotion and portrayal of themselves as victims. Wahh, wahhh, wahhhhh.
    The world loves an underdog, but not when it’s acting like a whiny bitch (segway to Ms. Royle.) Seriously, if Jen Royle needed “medication” for getting her feelings hurt, then she needs a job outside of the public eye.

  2. Glad to see Jen is no longer with MASN. Won’t have to put up with her “professional” interviews like this one in Washington: MASN’s Jen Royle Promises Good Things to Come as Long As Dr. Freeze Stays Off Your Stick

    BTW: $800K??? What a joke. Can’t imagine this will get very far.

    • Nice find. That site has another one where she’s on camera as well. In all honesty I haven’t really seen her on camera until then. I’ve also never heard her on the radio. Just read her vapid blog and tweeter posts.

  3. Conor O'Neill

    From Bmoremedia: “When you see Jen Royle she might greet you with a hug. This even if the two of you have never met. ‘I’m a hug person,’ she’ll say, and that will be that.” (http://www.bmoremedia.com/features/jenroyle032911.aspx)

    From Nestor: “I’ve never even met Jennifer Royle”

    C’monnnnn easy solution. Let’s hug it out guys!

  4. Bill Hickok

    Quality post….The quote on Jen’s final post…..”I don’t bite (although sometimes it appears as if I do) so please feel free to stop me and say hello. I already gave out three hugs today and it’s not even opening day yet!”

    This is supposedly sports coverage. Puke.

  5. robimos855

    I’ve heard her on 105.7 late night a few times, and heard/saw her a few times when garceau was simulcast on masn. She adds absolutely nothing to any topic I have ever heard her discuss.

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