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NBA Referee William Spooner Sues AP Over Twitter Post

By Jason Beahm on March 18, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Twitter is back in the news after an NBA referee filed a federal lawsuit against the Associated Press as well as a sportswriter the AP employs, Jon Krawczynski, over a Twitter post. The message suggested that veteran NBA referee William Spooner intentionally made a bad call to make up for an earlier bad call. Spooner is suing for defamation, the Associated Press reports.

Jon Krawczynski's Twitter post said the following: "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." Krawczynski posted the update while he was seated courtside at the Jan. 24 Rockets-Timberwolves game.

In the lawsuit, William Spooner alleges that Krawczynski's Twitter post led to a disciplinary investigation by the NBA, as well as damaging his good name as a referee. The lawsuit does not state a specific amount of damages, except for noting that they are over $75,000.

It seems that the AP is standing behind their man, with AP attorney Dave Tomlin stating, "We believe all the facts we reported in our coverage of that game, in all media, were accurate." The NBA confirmed the investigation of Spooner, saying that Krawczynski's Twitter post was "found it to be without substance, and [we] informed Mr. Spooner that we considered the matter closed," said Tim Frank, the NBA's senior vice president for basketball communications.

However, Frank also noted that the NBA advised William Spooner against suing over the tweet, as they believed that such a suit would not be productive.

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