Another Media Outlet Is Pummeled by a Libel Jury

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They should have known not to mess with Randall "Tex" Cobb. The menacing-looking boxer and movie actor scored a knockout of the media Friday when a Nashville jury awarded him a total of $10.7 million in two libel judgments against Sports Illustrated. The offending article? "The Fix Was In," published in 1994, in which SI reported that Cobb conspired with journeyman opponent Sonny Barch to fix their 1992 fight -Ė and then shared cocaine with him after the 70-second, three-knockdown bout.

Without knowing the facts of the reportage involved -- SI claims the story was true and says it will win on appeal (itís also a sister publication of TIME and TIME Daily) -- TIME legal correspondent Adam Cohen says the media, once again, is feeling the heat. "Add this to the Jenny Jones verdict, and it really seems that juries are taking a rather dim view of reporters these days." And talk about a sympathetic plaintiff -- who among us didnít love Cobb as the dirt-encrusted, cheroot-puffing bounty hunter Leonard Smalls in "Raising Arizona"? Certainly not the jury, who handed him millions after he claimed that the article nearly ruined his acting career.