NBA Referee Sues AP Reporter Over Tweet

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By Marcus Vanderberg Comment

NBA referee Bill Spooner filed a lawsuit on Monday against Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski for a tweet made on Jan. 24 when Minnesota hosted the Houston Rockets.

During the second quarter of the Timberwolves-Rockets game, Spooner called a foul on Anthony Tolliver of Minnesota. Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis was upset about the call and asked Spooner how he would get those points back.

Shortly after, Krawczynski tweeted, “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.”

Spooner, 54, is seeking in excess of $75,000 for “defamation per se to his professional and business reputation, a declaratory judgment that the Twitter publication constitutes defamation and an injunction requiring the removal of defamatory statements from the Defendants’ Internet postings.”

Even though the NBA considered the matter closed, Spooner decided to still file the lawsuit.

“We investigated the content of the tweet when it appeared, found it to be without substance, and informed Mr. Spooner that we considered the matter closed,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement. “We subsequently advised Mr. Spooner’s lawyer that we did not think suing a journalist over an incorrect tweet would be productive. Nevertheless, Mr. Spooner and his lawyer decided to commence this litigation and any future inquiries should be directed to Mr. Spooner’s lawyer.”

Below is a PDF of the Spooner vs. AP lawsuit:

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