Bo Jackson was awarded 21 million US dollars in a civil lawsuit after his niece and nephew attempted to blackmail him.
The two-sport legend filed a complaint against siblings Thomas Lee Anderson and Erica M. Andrews in April, accusing his niece and nephew of „relentless harassment and intimidation.“
According to Jackson’s lawsuit, the two attempted to extort 20 million US dollars from Jackson in exchange for not publicly disclosing information that would „cast him in a false light“ and cause „severe emotional distress,“ as reported by AL.com.
The Andersons continued to harass and intimidate Jackson by contacting his immediate family through social media, „publicizing the allegations, and threatening to continue disclosing the allegations“ and by threatening to appear near Jackson’s home to intimidate him, according to court documents received from WSB-TV.
The accumulated actions and „relentless harassment and intimidation“ by the Andersons reportedly caused severe emotional distress for Jackson.
Jackson was awarded the case after the Andersons failed to appear in court on January 31 to contest a restraining order issued by the judge last May.
„Defendants acted maliciously, willfully, and oppressively, with a conscious disregard for the consequences and with a specific intent to cause harm to the plaintiff,“ wrote Jason Marbutt, a judge from Cobb County, in the ruling received from AL.com.
Jackson was awarded just over 1 million US dollars in compensatory damages and to cover legal costs, in addition to another 20 million US dollars in punitive damages. Jackson was also granted a permanent restraining order against the Andersons, prohibiting them from contacting him or his family, restraining them from being within 500 meters of the Jacksons‘ homes, schools, or workplaces, and prohibiting them from posting about Jackson on social media.
The former Raiders running back and Kansas City Royals outfielder has a history of defending his character. In 2005, Jackson sued the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin after the newspaper quoted a nutrition specialist claiming a hip injury Jackson suffered while playing in the NFL was the result of steroid use. The newspaper eventually retracted the story and publicly apologized to Jackson.