Cyberspace Defamation Headline Sports Law Torts

Spooner v. Associated Press and Krawczynski

While many women believe that a “diamond is forever,” what do judges think about Tweets made on the social networking site Twitter?  Are statements made within Tweets stuck in a cache for eternity?  Upon clicking “Tweet,” has it been published?  Does it matter in a defamation case?

Last week, it was revealed that Bill Spooner, a referee in the National Basketball Association (N.B.A.) filed suit against Jon Krawczynski, a beat writer for the Associated Press, based on a Tweet made by Krawczynski during an N.B.A. match-up.  The Tweet stated 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.

The regular season game was between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets.  Kurt Rambis is the current head coach of the Timberwolves.

Amongst the relief Spooner wants granted is $75,000+ in damages based on the publishing of the Tweet.  Whether or not the Tweet is deleted, which Spooner also requested, it supposedly has already damaged Spooner’s reputation as a professional referee, to the tune of more than $75,000.