AP Reporter Whistled For Defamation

I posted the other day about some problems the NMS advertising firm encountered due to an employee’s tweet. Now comes word that NBA referee Bill Spooner has sued AP sportswriter Jon Krawczynski for this comment:

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.

less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Jon Krawczynski

Apparently, Kurt Rambis, the coach of the NBA Timberwolves, had taken issue with one of Spooner’s calls during a game with the Rockets. In the exchange, Spooner told Rambis he’d review the call later. Rambis then asked, “how do I get those points back?” Spooner thereafter made what is sometimes referred to as a “make up call” against the Rockets. Referees generally aren’t permitted to sue when fans or writers accuse them of making bad calls (because, among other reasons, truth is a defense, see e.g. this travesty:

but that’s not exactly what Spooner is complaining about. Spooner’s suit is based on the allegation that the tweet accuses him of promising to get Rambis the points back. Spooner says he never said any such thing. So it’s not about Krawczynski’s opinion – it’s the factual statement. Perhaps, had there been some context, this wouldn’t have gotten to the point of litigation. But context is one thing you don’t get with a 140 character limit!