Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ex-Bomber suing TSN for defamation

  • Print
A former Winnipeg Blue Bomber is suing a team of popular sportscasters for allegedly defaming him during a Canadian Football League television broadcast.

Brandon Dyson, who played guard during the 2001 season, says his professional career and personal life have been ruined by negative comments from The Sports Network crew of John Wells, Chris Schultz and Glen Suitor.

Winnipeg lawyer Alex Arenson, who is representing Dyson, said it may be a legal first to have an athlete going after a sportscaster through civil courts.

Dyson, 27, is seeking unspecified financial damages from TSN and its crew for comments he said were false, malicious and made with a "deliberate intention of discrediting his reputation and holding him up to public scandal, ridicule and contempt."

"There is room for legitimate criticism, but they went far beyond that," Arenson said yesterday.

"Linemen like Mr. Dyson have, by their very nature, to be rough and tough. This is not a Sunday School picnic we're talking about."

Dyson was singled out for criticism and analysis during an October 2001 CFL game between the Bombers and the Edmonton Eskimos, according to his statement of claim.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound behemoth was monitored for much of the game by a TSN camera that isolated his on-field actions.

Suitor, Wells and Schultz then took turns commenting on Dyson, suggesting he wasn't popular with his teammates, that he was dirty and that his tactics were "cheap and cowardly".

They showed the alleged video proof to several hundred thousand viewers at home, claiming Dyson's reputation as a "dirty player" was well deserved.

"See, Mr. Dyson, our eye in the sky is watching tonight," Suitor said at one point in the broadcast, according to the lawsuit.

Wells was quick to mention Dyson was voted by media and his fellow players in NFL Europe as the "dirtiest player in the league" when he played for the Scottish Claymores the previous season.

Dyson signed with the Bombers for the start of the 2001 campaign and quickly made enemies with his aggressive style of play.

He was fined twice early in the season for hits the CFL perceived as dirty. But his teammates came to his defence, taking up a collection to cover one of the $1,000 penalties.

A third CFL investigation was launched after the TSN broadcast in October 2001. The league was looking at an illegal chop block (cutting at a player's legs while he is already engaged with another) that was caught on camera by the television crew.

Wells even suggested many of Dyson's teammates had grown tired of his act. "Well, I said not many people like him and that would include some of the guys who wear blue and gold as well. Because I mean, just realistically, you don't like to see somebody injuring their opponents on purpose," he said during the broadcast.

Dyson claimed he had a bull's eye on his back after the broadcast.

"I've got officials, I've got the league office, I've got everybody against me," Dyson told the Free Press at the time.

"Controversy is good at times, but this is getting a little ridiculous. For me, the worst thing was after I watched the TV version of last week's game was knowing that my wife was sitting at home watching."

The Bombers also accused TSN of assassinating Dyson's character by isolating his play. Many players said Dyson played the game hard, but within the rules and shouldn't be singled out for criticism.

"Every offensive line in this league does the same thing that Brandon Dyson does. Maybe they should start looking at everybody's films," coach Dave Ritchie said at the time.

According to his lawsuit, Dyson sent a notice to TSN under the Defamation Act of Manitoba in January 2002. He told the network to retract the defamatory comments or face legal sanctions.

No action was ever taken, Dyson claims.

Dyson fell out of favour with the Bombers in the summer of 2002 when he refused to report to training camp, demanding more money. Ritchie abruptly cut him loose.

TSN, which is also named in the lawsuit, didn't return calls yesterday seeking comment. They have one month to file a statement of defence.

Dyson, who lives in Kentucky and has retired from pro football, couldn't be reached for comment.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 21, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets players discuss outcome of Game 3 and hopes for Game 4

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Weather Standup- Catching rays. Prairie Dog stretches out at Fort Whyte Centre. Fort Whyte has a Prairie Dog enclosure with aprox. 20 dogs young and old. 060607.

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google