NBA Referee Sues Sportswriter Over Tweet

Bill Spooner Says It Questioned His Integrity
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 5:14 PM CDT

(Newser) – Another first in the world of digital-age lawsuits. An NBA referee is suing an AP sportswriter over what he calls a "derogatory" tweet issued during a game, reports Wired. The fuss began when Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis complained to referee Bill Spooner about what he thought was a lousy call. Later in the game, sportswriter John Krawczysnki tweeted this: "Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he'd 'get it back' after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That's NBA officiating folks."

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Spooner denies saying any such thing to Rambis and says the tweet calls his integrity into question. (Professional refs issue makeup calls? Say it ain't so!) He wants $75,000 in damages and an official retraction. The NBA looked into it and believes Spooner, but advised him not to go ahead with what it thinks will be an "unproductive" lawsuit. As Wired notes, a key question if it goes to trial is whether a reporter's tweets constitute official reporting. (Read more tweet stories.)

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