Lamar Jackson calls out ESPN reporter for 'defamation'

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Lamar Jackson seems to have forgotten the golden rule of social media: never tweet.

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The Ravens star quarterback came under criticism on Sunday night after a heated exchange with a fan in which Jackson used a crass phrase referencing oral sex.

The tweet in question was later deleted.

Then, ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley published a story late Sunday night recounting the incident in which he claimed Jackson had used an "anti-gay" phrase.

On Monday morning, Jackson fired off a tweet in which he took exception to the ESPN story, tagging Hensley in the process.

"This is Defamation of my character, Because not once have I ever mentioned or disrespect anyone’s Sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, Religion or Race," Jackson said. "Your reaching…"

The initial tweet that seemed to strike a nerve with Jackson referenced his developing contract situation.

After the Ravens' loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars -- in which Jackson went 16-of-32 with one touchdown and 89 rushing yards on 14 carries -- the fan said the Ravens should let Jackson walk in free agency rather than sign him to the reported fully guaranteed, $250 million contract he is said to be seeking.

Jackson reportedly turned downed down a lucrative non-guaranteed deal from the Ravens last offseason. The team doesn't appear inclined to guarantee all of the cash, a rare stipulation that has only been afforded to Deshaun Watson by the Cleveland Browns.

On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters that he spoke to Jackson about the tweet, and generally encourages his players not to interact on Twitter, especially soon after a tough loss like Sunday's.

While it's true, as Jackson suggested, that he is one of the NFL's good guys, his profane response to the critic's provocation was probably ill-advised, and he may have compounded the issue by calling out Hensley.

In any event, a simple apology rather than a deflection directed at Hensley might have put the story to rest. Instead, Jackson seemed to dig himself into a deeper hole.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today