NBA referee Bill Spooner is suing Associated Press writer Jon Krawczynski because of a Tweet Krawczynski sent during the January 24 Timberwolves game against the Houston Rockets at the Target Center.
The Twitter comment that Spooner is suing both the AP as well as Krawczynski was published at 7:42 p.m. and said "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."
Spooner is suing for more than $75,000 in damages, the Tweet to be deleted and a retraction of the statement.
According to the lawsuit, the alleged exchange happened after Spooner called Anthony Tolliver for a foul at 10:22 in the second period which elicited a "brief verbal exchange" between Wolves head coach and Spooner with Spooner responding that he would review the call at halftime and get back to it.
Rambis then walked away from Spooner, commenting with words to the effect of "That's fine, but how do I get those points back?" according to the lawsuit. It goes on to say that "As Coach Rambis walked away, Plaintiff Spooner placed his whistle back in his mouth and made no response to Coach Rambis's comment."
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.
Update: Zach Harper, writing over at A Wolf Among Wolves, has reviewed the plays (video footage at the link) and came away with the following summary:
What I know for sure is Spooner made three foul calls in the span of 40 seconds. The first one was a terrible call that hopefully he reviewed and felt embarrassed about. Then he may or may not have promised a makeup call in some way before making two more foul calls almost immediately. However, the ensuing foul calls against Patterson and Brooks seem like obvious and correct calls.
The Timberwolves would go on to lose the game 129-125, however, so it didn't really work out in Rambis's favor in the end.
All's well that ends well?