Originally created 07/11/98

Fuzzy Zoeller sues newspaper, columnist

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Fuzzy Zoeller sued Florida Today and its sports columnist, Peter Kerasotis, for a satirical column that poked fun at comments the golfer made last year about Tiger Woods.

The April 12 column, headlined "Fuzzy Speaks with Forked Tongue," depicts a fictional interview with Zoeller and takes a satirical spin on comments Zoeller made following Woods' victory in the 1997 Masters.

In the column, Kerasotis attributed a number of statements to Zoeller, most poking fun at ethnic stereotypes.

Zoeller publicly apologized to Woods last year for making comments which many viewed as racist. After the tournament, Zoeller joked that he hoped Woods wouldn't select fried chicken and collard greens for the next year's champions' dinner. The remarks cost him an endorsement with Kmart.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Orlando last month, seeks an unspecified amount of money. The lawsuit claims the Florida Today column was dishonest and fraudulent and invaded Zoeller's privacy.

The column caused people to think Zoeller is "unrepentant, bigoted, insulting towards his fellow golfers, arrogant, a person of ill will and so unintelligent and insensitive as not to have learned any lessons from his earlier experience in 1997," according to the lawsuit.

Also named in the lawsuit were Florida Today and Gannett National Newspaper Sales Inc., the paper's owner.

Bob Stover, assistant managing editor for the Melbourne, Fla.-based newspaper, declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday. Kerasotis was on vacation and unavailable for comment.


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