He did refer to the reputational damage, and that's why he's taking legal action. To have gone off the way that he did (and very publicly), you have to believe (or, at least, hope) he's sure of his case.
I hope he is sure, but its not the first time he has gone public with possible legal action that's come to nothing.
And a final point, regarding the unnecessary insults. This, from the Salford subforum on RLFans. Normally, I treat internet rumours as a bit infantile, but Mario Rugby is the MEN's RL reporter, so it may have legs.
I know people will criticise him if that's what it is, but I honestly think more people should do that - or at least look into doing it.
To many people think that because they are anonymous on-line they can say what they want without having to back it up or any consequences for them.