This doesn’t come from the world of baseball, but it’s a cautionary tale for any of us who, after a couple of refreshments, take to Twitter while simultaneously watching baseball games and would dare criticize the men in blue:
A Tweet by The Associated Press’ beat writer for the National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolvesthat was critical of an official could prove costly, as ESPN.com reports that NBA referee Bill Spooner filed suit against Jon Krawczynski for alleging that Spooner promised the Timberwolves a makeup call during a Jan. 24 game against the Houston Rockets.
Given that (a) NBA officials obviously give makeup calls all the time; and (b) the reputation of NBA referees in this post Tim Donaghy world is so poor, I question whether the ref has a leg to stand on. But that’s a matter for the courts now, I guess. And for the witnesses who Krawczynski will likely be able to find from that press table who will corroborate his story. And probably for the NBA and the NBA referee’s union, who couldn’t have possibly signed off on one of its officials actually suing a member of the media over something silly like this, could they have?
All I know is that if this creates any kind of precedent, I should go back and erase the tweets I made following Buster Posey being called safe on that steal attempt during Game 1 of the NLDS, because I’m sure I said things way more defamatory than the stuff Krawczynski said. I think I got into Paul Emmel’s parentage, intelligence, hobbies and/or amorous tendencies, and that was before Posey even got done brushing the dirt off his pants. His totally-out-by-a-mile-yet-was-still-allowed-to-come-around-and-score-the-only-run-in-the-game pants.
I’m guessing we’ve all had such moments. The only solution: tweet only about the dead, who can’t sue for defamation. That’s what I’m going to do anyway. Next time I see a bad call, I’m going to curse a blue streak about Eric Gregg’s strike zone in the Livan Hernandez game in the 1997 playoffs. Yes, it’s transference, but it should keep me out of court.
UPDATE: Nope, the NBA didn’t sign off on the lawsuit. And if you read between the lines, you get the sense that they aren’t at all pleased that it was filed.