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PGA Tour responds to Hank Haney suit: firing was because of 'own actions'

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Almost five months after Hank Haney filed his lawsuit in the U.S. District Court’s southern district of Florida, claiming the PGA Tour interfered with his contract with Sirius XM Radio, the circuit filed its response on Monday.

The Tour denied Haney’s claims that the circuit “improperly intimidated, enticed and threatened Sirius XM Radio” to have the radio host fired following racially insensitive comments prior to the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.

Last month, the court denied the Tour’s motion to dismiss but in Monday’s filling the circuit again requested the complaint be dismissed and for the court to award the Tour “its costs in the amount and manner permitted by applicable law.”

The Tour’s response claims Haney’s lawsuit is “based on [unsubstantiated] allegations of conduct” by the Tour and that a joint statement that was issued on May 30, 2019, by the circuit and Sirius XM, was justified based on a mutual business relationship.

“The [Tour’s] conduct was justified because it exerted its right to protect its brand through the control of programming and the prevention of conduct detrimental to the [Tour] pursuant to its rights in the License Agreement with Sirius XM Radio,” the motion read.

“[The] Tour was not a stranger to the relationship between [Haney] and Sirius XM, and indeed, had a beneficial or economic interest in, or control over, that relationship, including a supervisory interest in how the relationship is conducted or a financial interest in how the contract between [Haney] and Sirius XM was performed.”

The motion also claims that Haney’s firing was based on his “own actions, and not any act or interference by [the Tour].”

Haney was suspended and his show eventually cancelled after he was asked on air to predict a winner of the U.S. Women’s Open. Haney replied, “I’m going to predict a Korean.” He added that he couldn’t name six players on the LPGA. “Maybe I could. Well, I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right,” he said.

The Tour’s policy is to not comment on ongoing litigation.