Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott went after Sports Illustrated with threats of a defamation lawsuit over an opinion article.
The Cowboys star running back threatened the lawsuit after the magazine published a piece by sports media columnist Jimmy Traina with the headline, “Ezekiel Elliott Forgets to Log Off, Admits to Being High on Twitch: Traina Thoughts.”
The column referred to a slang-term used by Elliott in a video that went viral, saying he was “low-key faded,” which can be interpreted as meaning someone is simultaneously under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. The 24-year-old made the remark when he was logging off the popular video game streaming platform, Twitch.
“Bro, I’m low-key faded,” he said, looking at his phone after thinking he had ended his Twitch stream Sunday night.
“Oh no, I didn’t even end my stream yet,” he said, realizing that after he looked at his computer.
— Zampah (@oh_fog) June 29, 2020
Following publication of the Sports Illustrated piece with the headline he disapproved of, Elliott fired off his threat to the magazine.
“Actually I was referring to the few drinks I had which I said during the live stream. Doesn’t that make this defamation? You guys will [be] hearing from my lawyers @SInow,” he tweeted.
Traina had not directly written that Elliott had been using marijuana or that he had been under the influence, though he made a reference to “riffing.”
“After wearing a mask and social distancing, the most important thing in life to remember is to always make sure you are logged off before you start riffing,” he wrote in the piece.
“I expect that from little gossip site but Sports Illustrated? REALLY?” Elliott added in another tweet.
I expect that from little gossip site but Sports Illustrated? REALLY?
— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) June 29, 2020
Traina deleted a tweet on his social media account promoting the story, according to Fox News.
Sports Illustrated also initially deleted the story after the outburst from Elliott, who has not been cleared to play since he was positive for the coronavirus this month. The player was angry about the release of his medical status, questioning whether HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was violated.
But the magazine reprinted the column on Monday with a different headline, reading, “Ezekiel Elliott Forgets to Log Off, Admits to Being ‘Faded’ on Twitch: TRAINA THOUGHTS.”
The piece also featured a “correction” explaining the change.
Elliott responded to our original story and said “faded” referred to a few drinks he had while streaming. A previous version of this story included a headline with an incorrect interpretation of Elliott’s meaning of “faded.” We apologize and regret the error.
Back in Elliott’s rookie season in 2016, the player had to explain that he made a “bad decision” after he was seen before a preseason game at a Seattle marijuana dispensary.
“It was a bad decision,” he told reporters at the time. “Just seen it walking around. Was curious. I didn’t really think about it before I went in, what the repercussions could have been. It wasn’t like I was trying to hide it or anything. I took pictures with people. It wasn’t like I was up to no good.”
Elliott, who is currently under a six-year, $90 million contract, sparked plenty of commentary on Twitter after his message to Sports Illustrated.
Ezekiel, i was super disheartened to hear you openly discuss your marijuana consumption over the internet. A lot of people, including myself, used to look up to you. I hope you can get the help that you need.
— ethan (@ethanmich_smith) June 30, 2020
“No Roger. “Faded” means sleepy. Yes, sleepy. He was very sleepy.”
— €ssential Black King ✊🏿👑 (@Scotty_Jo_Yung) June 27, 2020
Never anywhere in my life have I heard someone say “faded” when they meant “high”. Absolutely ridiculous
— Mekka Don (@MekkaDonMusic) June 29, 2020
Who changed the meaning of faded? They are always making up ish..
— Ms. Lovings (@MsLovings) June 30, 2020
Faded could also mean he’s drinking… #FakeNews
— Pancho Villa (@reinhold471) June 29, 2020
— Montrae Strickland (@montrae0902) June 29, 2020