The school soccer coach’s taking pictures at Stacey Abrams’ tweet violated his First Modification rights, a lawsuit stated
A former college football offensive coach filed a lawsuit earlier this week in hopes of getting his job back after drinking a derogatory tweet about Georgian politician Stacey Abrams.
Chris Malone, who was on the Chattanooga Mocs’ coaching staff prior to sending the tweet in January, claimed his First Amendment rights had been violated when he was fired on Jan. 7. Malone filed the lawsuit in the Eastern District of the US District Court. Malone is suing Chancellor Steven Angle, Sporting Director Mark Wharton and Coach Rusty Wright and in their roles at the school.
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“Most states allow employers to be controlling and vengeful about social media,” said Doug Churdar, Malone’s attorney, in a Fox News press release. “It’s different for state or public employers. You can’t ignore the first change.”
The school made no response due to pending litigation.
The tweet came in the middle of the Georgia Senate runoff election.
“Congratulations to the State of GA and Fat Albert @staceyabrams for really showing America the true works of cheating in an election !!!” Malone wrote. “Enjoy the Big Girl buffet! You deserve it !!! Hope the money was good, still not governor!”
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Malone deleted the tweet after former players responded negatively. He said in the lawsuit he didn’t hear about the tweet until Jan. 6 when Wright allegedly told him the matter was “over his head”. Malone was then told to resign the next day.
The school later announced that Malone had been fired.
Wright and Wharton reprimanded the tweets.
“Our football program has clear standards,” Wright said in a statement. “These standards include respecting others. This is a message our players hear every day. It is a standard I will not be without. What has been posted on social media by a contributor is unacceptable and does not belong What I Stand For or What Chattanooga Football stands for. Life is bigger than football, and as leaders of young men we have to set that example first and foremost. So that person is practically no longer part of my workforce. “
Wharton added, “The sentiments in this post are inconsistent with the values of our football program, our athletics department, or our university.”
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Malone said he was treated unfairly by the media.
“Calling politicians liars and cheaters is a proud American tradition. Until then, no one has a problem with it [it’s] “You ‘politicians,” said Malone in the complaint. ” And bold jokes may be rude, but they’re not uncommon. Just ask Chris Christie and Donald Trump. “
Malone had spent two seasons in Tennessee-Chattanooga. He was also a coach at Old Dominion and Virginia State.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.