Considering the open, instant nature of Twitter combined with people’s growing sensitivity to public reaction, it’s actually surprising this kind of thing isn’t more commonplace. What we have is an agreement between two entities concerning a potentially defaming tweet from AP reporter Jon Krawczynski concerning NBA referee William Spooner.
As indicated during WebProNews’ initial coverage, the tweet in question suggested Spooner had missed a call and was going to “get it back” for the Minnesota Timberwolves later on during the game. The reporter in question, Krawczynski, apparently overhead the exchange and tweeted it out for the masses with the following post:
“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.”
When WebProNews previously covered the story, we also made a screenshot of Krawaczynski’s tweet, which has since been removed:
Because of the implication behind the message, Spooner filed suit against Krawczynski in March, claiming the tweet in question defamed his character. Fast forward to the end of the year and Spooner has agreed to drop his lawsuit, provided Krawcxynski removed the tweet in question and agreed to pay $20,000 towards the referee’s court costs.
A statement was also released concerning the settlement, one both parties agreed upon, which says:
“AP and its reporter Jon Krawczynski learned through discovery that referee Bill Spooner and coach Kurt Rambis have both consistently and independently denied that Mr. Spooner told the coach ‘he’d get it back’ in an exchange that occurred after a disputed call against the Timberwolves on Jan. 24, 2011, as Mr. Krawczynski had tweeted from courtside that night. Mr. Spooner has testified that he instead told the coach he would ‘get back’ to him after reviewing videotape of the play during a halftime break.
“The NBA promptly investigated at the time and concluded that Mr. Spooner had acted properly. AP was initially unaware of the investigation and does not contest the NBA’s finding. During the game, Mr. Krawczynski tweeted what he believed he had heard. Mr. Krawczynski acknowledges the possibility that he misunderstood what Mr. Spooner said and has therefore removed the Tweet from his APKrawczynski Twitter feed.”
The tweet has also been removed, although, it still shows up in the results, or, at least it’s listed as a search result when you search for Krawczynski’s Twitter account:
As for the NBA’s investigation, it makes perfect sense the league would stand by its referees, because if there was an admittance of fault, it would
confirm what basketball fans already knew cast doubt on the way the officials do their jobs. That being said, when an independent sports blog took a look at the game in question, it discovered the following:
Despite what was or wasn’t actually said, the play-by-play from that night’s game shows that Patrick Patterson was called for an offensive foul less than 30 seconds after the original foul was called and then called for a foul on the defensive end 10 seconds later. Patrick Patterson has had his share of foul trouble this season, but two fouls in ten seconds following the alleged exchange does seem interesting.
Make of that what you will, but from a sports fan’s perspective, make up calls are an expected — and accepted — part of sports, just don’t ask the referees about it.