AP and NBA ref reach settlement in tweet suit

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 07, 2011
The Associated Press and an NBA referee have reached a settlement in a lawsuit against the news agency and one of its sports writers over a Twitter message suggesting the referee intentionally made a bad call to make up for another one that went against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Referee William Spooner agreed to drop the suit, filed last March in Minneapolis, pending removal of the Jan. 24 tweet from Jon Krawczynski's Twitter account and a payment of $20,000 for Spooner's litigation costs. The tweet was sent while Krawczynski was covering the Houston Rockets-Timberwolves game. He heard an exchange between Spooner and Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis during the second period. Sitting courtside, Krawczynski tweeted: ''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 settlement also required a mutually agreed upon statement to be released. It explains the decision on the settlement and reads: ''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.''
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