As the saga between Arian Foster and the reported mother of his unborn child, Brittany Norwood, has played out, the narrative has been largely set by Norwood's side.
It started with her filing of a lawsuit for a restraining order in which she accused Foster and his brother, Abdul, of acting in an "outrageous" manner, and further, trying to strong-arm her into having an abortion. It continued with Norwood going on KHOU in a sit-down interview and portraying herself as a sympathetic figure and victim.
To this point, Arian Foster's response had consisted of statements through his attorney in which he accused Norwood of exploiting the situation as content for a future reality television show, and a 30-second rant at a FOX 26 news reporter who was parked in front of Foster's house.
The whole thing had been a bad look for both parties, but particularly Foster, whose career with the Texans is somewhat up in the air already as he recovers from a back injury.
Then came the sound from TMZ on Monday where a person who appears to be Norwood, on a recording, admitted that her lawsuit was, at the very least, embellished if not altogether fabricated.
Then Tuesday, finally, came Arian Foster's stiffest counterpunch yet -- a four-page counterclaim of defamation against Norwood.
In its summary paragraph, the counterclaim calls Norwood's claims against Foster "groundless and baseless" and says that they are "designed to impugn the character and reputation of A.I.F. [Foster's initials] with the intent to extort monies from A.I.F." It goes on to ostensibly cite the TMZ recording, saying Norwood herself admits her accusations are false.
It calls Norwood's entire plan a "calculated scheme" with the purpose being "solely to attempt to gain a financial benefit."
Among the highlights of the document:
1. The lawsuit mentions all the outlets that picked up her version of the story. There's no better way to illustrate the widespread reach of Norwood's aspersions than to cite the outlets that picked up the story -- Sports Illustrated, NBC, USA Today and a number of sports-related websites. Point being, defamation spreads at the speed of light (or Twitter) in 2014.
2. Norwood's text message follow-up to Abdul Foster is transcribed and hurts her case that she was receiving pressure to abort the pregnancy. Norwood's accusations in her original lawsuit paint both Arian and Abdul Foster in an unflattering, insensitive light. However, according to Arian's counterclaim, Norwood and Abdul actually engaged in cordial dialogue over dinner to discuss the pregnancy, and Norwood followed up with this text: "Abdul, honestly I respect your opinion and I know how good of a person you are and all the people you're trying to protect and that's so genuine and admirable." Not exactly a reply one would send to someone who is behaving outrageously and insensitively toward one. 3. The TMZ recording where Norwood admitted that her accusations were false was cited and transcribed, and according to the lawsuit, recorded legally. Foster's counterclaim doesn't reveal exactly how the recording was executed, who conducted it and how TMZ received a copy. It merely says it was "recorded legally." (For what it's worth, according to one lawyer I spoke with, in Texas only one party needs to know a conversation is being recorded for it to be "legally recorded.")
4. Foster is seeking the deluxe package of damages. The defamation counterclaim says that Arian Foster seeks "all court costs, expenses, and attorney fees." Additionally, he seeks "all actual damages, consequential damages, damages to his reputation, lost income, pain and suffering, and/or mental anguish as well as exemplary damages, costs of court, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest at the highest lawful rates." Pretty ominous punishment for the defendant when there is a legally generated recording of her voice saying her own original lawsuit is bullshit.
For what it's worth, Norwood says she is standing by her story, even with the audio recording of her doing the exact opposite of that. Norwood's attorney, Doug York, claims that Norwood was merely trying to calm the waters when she was speaking with Foster on the recorded audio.
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In other news, according to her mother, Norwood's plans for a reality television show based on their "unique mother/daughter relationship"
which no one would give two shits about if she weren't carrying Arian Foster's child are full steam ahead. So there's that.
Whatever the case, the burden of proof on Norwood to substantiate her claims against Arian Foster just got much, much heavier, the absence of proof potentially much more costly.
Last week, Brittany Norwood punched and punched and punched again. This week, with the audio recording and now this counterclaim, Arian Foster has finally punched back, swiftly and decisively.