An NBA referee has filed a defamation lawsuit against an Associated Press reporter
over an accusation the reporter made on Twitter. During a Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets game on January 24th, AP writer Jon Krawczynski wrote
, "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." Rambis is the Timberwolves head coach who, according to the lawsuit, argued about a foul Spooner called on a T-wolves player during the second quarter of the game. Spooner doesn't deny the exchange with Rambis, but he claims he never promised a make-up call, instead telling the coach he would review the foul call at halftime, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. Spooner is asking fro $75,000, that the tweet be removed, and a published retraction.
Of course, this is a very serious accusation. If Spooner promised a make-up call, he conspired to fix the game. (Some fans believe that happens nightly in the NBA anyway.) That could mean disaster for a league that has struggled with its image. But aside from the impact this case might have on the game, it could also go a long way in defining the legal gray area Twitter resides in.