A lot of the discussion around Roger Stone, he of the obstruction of justice charges and back tattoo of Richard Nixon, is on the political side, but he’s now popped up in the sports world as well. In between political arguments and claims of innocence on his social media feeds, Stone has thrown out some seemingly-out-of-place comments about the concussion settlement for former NFL players. And as BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman writes, those players’ lead attorney has now accused Stone of collaborating with another attorney challenging aspects of the settlement and its enforcement:
Christopher Seeger, the lead attorney for the former players — who Stone has accused of acting against the former players’ interests — offers one theory about why Stone had been spending so much time talking about the case. In court papers filed this week, Seeger contends that Stone has ties to another lawyer representing a group of former NFL players, Patrick Tighe. Seeger accused Tighe of pushing false conspiracy theories about the case through Stone to get media attention, and suggested collaboration between the two men.
Seeger wrote that Tighe appeared to be a “go-to source” for Stone (as well as Sheila Dingus, who runs a website about the case) and that Stone’s commentary “echoed” Tighe’s arguments in the litigation. Seeger also wrote that Stone was a “self-described ‘dirty trickster,’” and highlighted the fact that Stone was recently charged in the Russia investigation. Stone pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to Congress about his contacts with Wikileaks.
Here’s what those court papers specifically say about Stone:
Indeed, throughout the implementation of the Settlement, Mr. Tighe has actively sought all flavors of the media spotlight, and has been an active collaborator with various internet sites and “media” sources in spreading conspiracy theories and falsehoods about the Settlement. In particular, Mr. Tighe appears to be a go-to source for Roger Stone and Sheila Dingus. Ms. Dingus’s blog, Advocacy for Fairness in Sports, has offered unfounded speculations and muckraking about the state and integrity of the Settlement since February 8, 2017. Recently, Dingus posted a story about the Order now challenged by Mr. Tighe, comparing it to the Trojan Horse that brought down Troy. Roger Stone, the self-described “dirty trickster” and a focus of the on-going “Russia” investigation by Robert Mueller (Mueller recently indicted Stone for lying and obstructing justice), has been peddling conspiracy theories and trash-talk about the Settlement since January 2018.
Mr. Tighe is not merely an informant to such “news” sources. Rather, Mr. Tighe has appeared as a guest of Mr. Stone on Infowars, the internet media domain founded by Alex Jones. On the February 13, 2018 broadcast of Infowars, Mr. Tighe spoke (as a representative of Advocacy for Fairness in Sports) to Mr. Stone at length about the NFL’s orchestration of a dysfunctional Settlement program that was not paying claims and the NFL’s use of the “Anthem kneeling” scandal to cover this up. Moreover, since the Order challenged by Mr. Tighe was entered, on January 17, 2019, Mr. Stone has echoed the position asserted by Mr. Tighe – the Order is a loss for the players and rewrites the Settlement Agreement.
It hasn’t been proven that Stone is actually connected to Tighe. As Tillman notes, Stone didn’t actually interview Tighe on Infowars; that was Owen Shroyer, who also collaborated with Stone on a different Infowars segment last January suggesting the NFL was encouraging anthem protests in order to distract from its treatment of retired players (yeah, right). Tillman’s piece also includes Tighe saying he’s never spoken with Stone about the case or paid him, and Stone saying his opinions on it are his own:
“I have written two long detailed pieces for the daily caller on this issue. I strongly suggest you read them. I am paid by no one. The opinions expressed are mine. 88% of the injured players are African American. -16 % of claims have been paid . It’s a racist disgrace !”
But regardless of if Stone is doing any of this at Tighe’s behest or not, there are some interesting elements of this where those two have overlapped. For one, Stone’s Instagram post this week was about Cornell Webster, one of Tighe’s clients:
And Tighe later tweeted a link to that, and he tweeted one of Stone’s previous concussion settlement articles when the news around Stone’s arrest came out:
Sadly, Stone was a retired player advocate https://t.co/onH0PVJ31p
— Patrick Tighe (@PatTighe) January 25, 2019
At the very least, it’s remarkable that Stone is interspersing his political commentary and commentary on his own case with remarks about this NFL concussion settlement. And it’s fascinating to see Stone and Infowars mentioned in court filings about that settlement. Clearly, Stone doesn’t always stick to politics.