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Grady Sizemore sics his lawyers on a blogger

Dec 2, 2009, 1:28 PM EDT

The Diamondhoggers blog put up a couple of those oh-so-sexy photos of Grady Sizemore yesterday.  Last night, Sizemore’s lawyers sent them a cease and desist letter, threatening suit if they don’t take them down.  I haven’t practiced law since last Friday, but I suppose I can brush off the rust and parse this bad boy:

“It has come to our attention that you are posting a number of photographs of Mr. Sizemore that are his property. The photographs, which were stolen from a personal computer . . .”

Oooh, clever lawyer.  Stolen from “a” personal computer. Not “Mr. Sizemore’s” personal computer. A small distinction, but one that had to be made because every single article on the topic has reported that the pics were stolen from the computer of one Brittany Binger — Grady Sizemore’s girlfriend — after Sizemore sent them to her.  Which means that the photos aren’t Mr. Sizemore’s property. Unless Grady gave them to Binger on a lease with an option to buy.  If a letter should be coming from anyone it should be coming from Binger’s lawyer. Maybe Sizemore has a copyright complaint as the photographer, but I don’t think that’s what is really animating this letter, do you?

“. . . the posting of pictures known to be stolen is an invasion of Mr. Sizemore’s property and may be actionable at law. Such posting, therefore, subjects the Website, you, your employees and principals, and all individuals/entities associated with this activity to serious potential liability.”

Oh noes!! Not Serious Potential Liability!! Is that like Double Secret Probation?

Look, the key word here is “may.” The law on this varies from state to state, but to sue someone for invasion of privacy, there has to be some sort of an intrusion on one’s private affairs or the revealing of one’s private information, with “private” being defined (roughly) as “stuff no one knows,” not “involving one’s privates.”

Setting aside the fact that these pics were all over the Internet before Diamondhoggers posted them, if I was defending the case I’d feel pretty comfortable arguing that Grady lost any claim to privacy the moment he hit “send” and transported the pics over any number of servers and to any number of potential recipients, intended or otherwise.

“We trust that you can appreciate the serious nature of this situation . . .”

Serious? sorry, I saw the pics and there’s nothing serious about them. They’re absolutely hilarious.

“We ask that you preserve any records associated with the submission of the photographs to you in anticipation of a criminal complaint to be filed with local law enforcement.”

Great moments in boilerplate threat-letter language. I’m not sure where the writers of Diamondhoggers live, but I’m guessing that it’s in a jurisdiction where law enforcement officials don’t give a diddly durn about Grady Sizemore’s girlfriends’ pictures being reposted on the Internet. What, you think McNulty, Bunk, Freamon and Pryzbylewski are sitting in the dingy offices of the Nudie Internet Pic Takedown detail just waiting to spring into action?  If anyone goes after anyone for this it will be feds going after the person who hacked the computer in the first place, and even then, this sort of thing isn’t high on anyone’s list.

“Should you fail to comply immediately with the terms of this letter, we will be forced to explore all available remedies against the Website and you.”

Sorry, your threat letter pretty much constitutes all the remedies there are.

Look, it’s obviously a crime to hack someone’s computer, and if Sizemore’s girlfriend’s computer was hacked, whoever did it should have their butt in a sling (and if they’re liable to anyone it’s his girlfriend, not Sizemore).  But these poor bloggers didn’t hack anything. They merely posted something that about umpteen hundred other websites posted yesterday, long after the initial crime — assuming there even was one — took place.

A cease and desist letter like this — coming from the legal arm of Sizemore’s agents, by the way — is an exercise in P.R. damage control, and a hamfisted one at that.  Sizemore showed some bad judgment in taking these pics of himself and sending them into cyberspace. Anyone who has been alive for the past decade or so knows that what happened with them — their ultimate release to the public — was inevitable.

Most people in Sizemore’s situation would probably take this as a learning experience, hope it all dies down quickly and move on. Sizemore decided to release the legal hounds to harass bloggers.  Which is a pretty weak move on Grady’s part in my mind.

  1. Moshe Mandel - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    I have to disagree with the idea that this should be a learning experience and that release to the public was “inevitable.” Sizemore is a star to baseball fans, but outside Cleveland I bet he is pretty anonymous. I have absolutely no reason to think that emails exchanged between two people should be anything but private. And what exactly shows poor judgment in sending some risque pictures to a girlfriend over a secure connection? Sizemore may not actually have a legal leg to stand on, but he is without a doubt the victim here, and the idea that he should just take it as a lesson and move on seems ridiculous to me.

  2. Old Gator - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    Sizemore clearly has the wrong agent. He ought to be in touch with whomever is representing John Bobbit. There’s big money in them Playgirl center spreads.

  3. Old Gator - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:49 PM

    PS – oh, and Craig, you “sic” a lawyer (or a pit bull, or even a chihuahua if you have a small target) on someone. You don’t “sick” him on someone – unless your attack dog is trained to throw up on its victims.

  4. TheNaturalMevs - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:55 PM

    I lost a lot of respect for Grady through this situation. Before the letter from his lawyer, the pictures were odd enough. I can deal with a vouyerish ballplayer if I have to, I guess.
    But how many athletes have had photos get into the wrong hands and on the internet? I’m the same age as Grady. Own up to your mistake and learn from it. Trying to make a team of lawyers erase the situation from the history of the interwebs is no way to go about righting a wrong.

  5. Lawrence From Plattekill - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:55 PM

    Great post, but can I ask why Circling the Bases removed the link to the photos that you posted previously?

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:55 PM

    D’oh. Thanks Gator. I made the change.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 2, 2009 at 1:58 PM

    Lawrence — The link was to a NSFW website, and the pics are arguably NSFW. We have an internal policy against linking to such sites, which I — on my first damn day as a full timer! — broke. I think it’s a good policy though, so I took the link off without a fight. I probably could have linked one of the cleaner ones on a different website, but it really didn’t add anything to the party.

  8. Beanster - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:11 PM

    “I saw the pics and there’s nothing serious about them. They’re absolutely hilarious.”
    One of the best lines you’ve written, Craig. Keep telling it like it is!

  9. Lawrence From Plattekill - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    Well, OK…but I’ve been to parties where nude pictures of Grady Sizemore would have pepped things up.

  10. Ross - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    “And what exactly shows poor judgment in sending some risque pictures to a girlfriend over a secure connection?”
    And what makes you think email is a secure connection? Every server in the path from sender to receiver will have a copy of that email. Each server has admins with the authority to look through the contents of those servers at any time for any reason they choose. There’s nothing “secure” about email.

  11. Moshe Mandel - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    There are repercussions should any of those admins release the contents of an email. The contents here were stolen. Should he really anticipate theft of the photos?

  12. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:35 PM

    He shouldn’t be held as a matter of law to have anticipated their theft, but from a purely rational standpoint, he can’t really be surprised that these got out.
    None of which matters for any potential causes of action. The fact is that, (a) the copy of the file that was hacked did not belong to him; and (b) at the time the images were posted by the second or third website, they were anything but “private” and thus he had nothing to invade.

  13. Moshe Mandel - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    As I said above, he clearly has no legal remedy. I just really do not get the sentiment that becoming a professional baseball player means you should expect to have your privacy or the privacy of those close to you invaded in an illegal manner, and that you should just apologize or something for being wronged. The idea that he committed some sort of wrong, as The NaturalMevs suggests, or even that he showed bad judgment here seems to be holding him to a ridiculous standard. Celebrities send emails that they intend to be private all the time, and have not done anything wrong by sending those emails, nor should they expect for those contents to be released.

  14. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 2, 2009 at 2:48 PM

    I can’t speak for NaturalMevs, but my view is that this isn’t a celebrity/non-celebrity issue. Any person who sends out an email with a nude picture of themselves cannot reasonably expect that the only person on the planet who is going to see it is the intended recipient. The world, sadly, just doesn’t work like that. Maybe it’s not right, but it’s reality, and when act X causes logical result Y to happen, the proper response is not send out cease and desist letters that have no legal basis.

  15. John_Michael - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    Craig, the Feds were going to go after who hacked the computer in the first place, but Marlo’s people stole their camera and all they see now is a fuzzy image of a few pigeons.

  16. Sean Salisbury - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    Bad move Grady, I know a thing or two about risque pics showing up and ruining careers. I’d explain more but I’m too busy with deadspin’s lawyers about the idiotic stuff I’ve done, err they said I’ve done.

  17. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    FTW!

  18. Ross - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    Additionally…how do we know they were stolen and not just leaked by his girlfriend? I’m not trying to accuse her of anything, but it’s not like that’s never happened before, even accidentally.

  19. Carroll - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    This is exactly why I always lease pictures to my girlfriend with the option to buy.

  20. Joe Tetreault - Dec 2, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    Saw this story earlier today. It reminded me of the story from a month or two ago, when some fashion house photoshopped a model’s head onto an emaciated body, then sent bloggers cease and desist letters when the bloggers rightly mocked the monster that Dr. Froederick Frankenstien (that’s Fronckensteen!) the Photoshop wiz created.
    The bottom line is when you send it out, it ceases to be yours. Bullying bloggers doesn’t fill the colossal void between your ears that concluded snapping candids and emailing them was a fantastic plan.

  21. ecp - Dec 2, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    I’m not trying to be insulting, but I really thought that most people are now aware that they cannot assume privacy or security when sending information over the Internet UNLESS they are certain that they are using SSL (secure socket layer) encryption. I’m not the lawyer, Craig is, but I seriously doubt there is any leg to stand on if Sizemore were to say “I have a right to assume that my email will not be stolen, intercepted, or used in a manner not approved by me.”

  22. ecp - Dec 2, 2009 at 4:28 PM

    I meant to also state that one doesn’t have to be a celebrity to have one’s supposed privacy invaded in this manner…or to have one’s identity stolen. I had hoped that most of us had learned by now that, when it comes to the Internet, that anything we send over it or post on it may be used in a manner we might not wish – and that none of us should assume we are safe.

  23. aleskel - Dec 2, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    And this brings the number of Bases posts with the “nude pictures” tag to … 1
    God help us if it gets to 2.

  24. Moshe Mandel - Dec 2, 2009 at 6:05 PM

    I seriously doubt there is any leg to stand on if Sizemore were to say “I have a right to assume that my email will not be stolen, intercepted”
    Not sure this is true. Pretty sure intercepting email or breaking into an email account is against the law. While you make a good point about the lack of security, there is a difference between assuming it will be secure and expecting that it will be stolen. I dont assume my car alarm makes my car impossible to break into, but I am still pretty shocked when it is stolen.

  25. tiny dancer - Dec 2, 2009 at 7:48 PM

    He’s going to waste so much money trying to fix this. What a shame. Even if they were stolen and the person who stole them is found, the damage has been done. No amount of money, apologizes, or jail time will fix that.

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